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Mortgage lending leaps

23 April 2004
Mortgage lending has continued to spiral, according to figures released by the Building Societies Association and the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The CML reports that mortgage lending rose by 19.5 per cent in March alone.

This mean a total of £24.5 billion in advances was lent in March, the strongest level of lending for four months, and could prove to be a record when adjusted for seasonal factors.

Since March 2003, the BSA says net lending has increased by a staggering 37 per cent. Approvals for loans jumped from £3,840 million to £5,047 million.

CML director general Michael Coogan said: "It now seems clear that the housing market has experienced an upswing in the first quarter of this year."

But Mr Coogan warned: "The reality is that there is no consensus about the future direction of the market - or about how far interest rates may rise.

"Given the plethora of hints and warnings about the likelihood of rate rises to come, it is perhaps surprising that more borrowers are not latching into fixed-rate deals now. It seems that the interest rate rises so far have had little impact on consumer behaviour."

Adrian Coles, director-general of The Building Societies Association said the figures were "starkly re-emphasising the attractions of building society mortgage products in a strong housing market."