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Housing market continues to boom

29 October 2003
Mortgage lenders approved a record number of home loans during September, according to new figures.

The British Bankers' Association said 292,800 mortgages worth £23.3 billion were approved during the month - 37 per cent higher than in September last year.

September was also a record month for advances, with total lending reaching a new high of £16.92 billion.

The mortgage market continued to be driven by remortgaging and equity release loans during September, with the value of approvals for remortgaging 62 per cent higher than they had been during the same month of 2002 and the value of equity releases up by 41 per cent.

There was also welcome evidence that first time buyers are starting to return to the market, with data showing that people buying property rose to 38 per cent of all approvals, up from just 30 per cent in the first half of the year.

The record level of approvals suggests the housing market continues to remain buoyant.

David Dooks, BBA director of statistics, said: "The continued buoyancy of the mortgage market is clear to see in September's lending figures and the strength of approvals means that this is expected to continue in the near term."

The Council of Mortgage Lenders estimated last week that gross mortgage lending totalled a record £25.7 billion in September.

However, the figures are likely to fuel recent speculation that the Bank of England will announce a hike in interest rates at its November meeting in a bid to curb spiralling levels of consumer debt.