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Mortgage lending hits two-year high
Mortgage lending for homebuyers has reached a two-year high
Further evidence that schemes to boost the housing market are taking effect has been shown as mortgage lending for homebuyers reached a two-year high.
Some 55,300 loans were advanced for house purchase in August worth £8.4 billion, representing an 11% increase on a year ago and the largest number of loans seen since July 2010, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said.
Lending to first-time buyers is up by a fifth on a year ago with £2.8 billion worth of loans advanced, only just below the levels seen in March when the ending of a stamp duty concession for this sector prompted a rush of people looking to complete deals.
The typical first-time buyer deposit has stood at 19% since July, the lowest average deposit for this sector in more than three years, the CML said.
But the lending body cautioned that it was too early to say whether the boost is the start of an ongoing trend or if it is down to the market readjusting after summer distractions such as the Olympics.
Mortgage availability has been increasing since an £80 billion funding for lending scheme was launched at the start of August, although much of this has so far been concentrated around people with larger deposits of at least 20%. The Government also launched a NewBuy scheme in the spring, which has been helping first-time buyers and home movers buy a new-build home with a deposit of just 5%.
Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said the figures showed "welcome indications" that funding for lending is starting to kick in, with several lenders slashing their rates recently.
But Mr Harris said: "With first-time buyers still needing to put down nearly 20% of the purchase price as a deposit, we need funding for lending to result in more options and better rates at higher LTVs (loans-to-value) if it is to make a real difference for the market."
Meanwhile, remortgage lending has continued on a downward spiral, and is down by more than a third year-on-year. Some 21,700 remortgage loans worth £2.9 billion were advanced in August, a massive 37% drop compared with a year ago.
Lenders have toughened their borrowing criteria in recent months, raising concerns that many homeowners on a standard variable rate (SVR) mortgage who have recently seen their payments go up will find it harder to switch deals. A string of lenders have increased their SVRs since the spring, affecting more than a million home owners.
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