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'Strongest' December for mortgage lending

23 January 2006
Gross mortgage lending fell by six per cent last month, but remained the strongest December on record, according to new figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

Despite the decrease to £26.3 billion, these figures were 25 per cent higher than the £21 billion achieved in December 2004.

Overall lending in 2005 reached £287.5 billion, which was just one per cent less than 2004's record £291.2 billion.

It is a usual occurrence for lending to fall as the year ends, but last month's fall was less than it had been in previous years.

"The commentators who thought lending would fall sharply in 2005 based on the performance of the first half of the year were wrong," said Michael Coogan, director general of the CML.

He said that the latter half of 2005 was "characterised" by a strong market activity and a rise in mortgage lending.

"We expect this trend to continue into 2006 as mortgage approvals continue to rise. Against this background, house prices should remain resilient in the coming months," Mr Coogan concluded.

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