Mortgage lending at highest since 2008 in September
Bank of England figures show a steady uplift which shows the housing market was already gaining strength before the first phase of Help to Buy launched in April.
IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer said: “While the strength of house price rises in London is becoming an increasing concern and pushing up the overall national increase in house prices, we are currently a long way off from an overall housing market bubble emerging.
Nevertheless, there is a mounting danger that house prices could really take off over the coming months, especially if already significantly improving housing market activity and rising buyer interest is lifted appreciably further by the “Help to Buy” mortgage guarantee scheme.”
Figures suggest mutual lenders are helping drive the market with gross lending up 50% to £3.7bn compared to £2.5bn in September 2012. Lloyds and Santander have also substantially increased lending volumes this year.
Gross mortgage lending hit a five-month low of 52,139 in February this year, but the upswing means mortgage approvals have risen 33.8% year-on-year.
Mortgage approvals remain far below long-term average levels of 84,633 a month since 1993. This rose to 118,969 a month in 2006 and 104,212 in 2007.
Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau said: “It’s clear that the market is continuing to grow, with average mortgage lending swelling by £1bn in September compared to an average monthly increase of £0.8 billion in the past six months. With the outlook for the end of 2013 and beyond increasingly positive, consumers who have their deposit ready should act now to lock-in to rock-bottom rates before they inevitably rise.”