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February gross mortgage lending up 43%

Interesting new data released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders estimates that total gross mortgage lending was £15.2 billion in February. This is 6% lower than January’s figure of £16.1 billion, but 43% higher than the £10.6 billion lent in February last year and the highest total for a February since 2008.

These figures, taken in conjunction with other figures for this year indicate, says the CML, that the current state of the housing market shows the “strongest and most sustained activity levels for more than five years.”

While remortgages and buy to let lending contributes to this improving picture, much of the improvement is due to lending for house purchase. This has been helped by the resurgence in activity by first-time buyers, fuelled by the Help to Buy schemes operated by the Government, but there has also been an improvement in the numbers of home owners seeking mortgages to fund house moves.

“Housing market indicators have continued to be strong over recent months, once seasonal factors have been taken into account,” commented CML chief economist, Bob Pannell. “First-time buyers have benefitted most from the government’s Help to Buy initiatives, with the more recent mortgage guarantee scheme now starting to push typical loan-to-value levels higher.”

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