Mortgage Lending on the Up in January

After a large drop in mortgage lending to close 2017, the picture was very different – and more encouraging – to begin the New Year. Gross mortgage lending experienced a healthy rise in January, as a total of £21.9 billion was handed out for property purchases. All data comes from UK Finance and was eagerly awaited by many after the poor finish to 2017. This compares favourably with the £20 billion that was lent in the final month of 2017. It is also up by an impressive 9.8% when compared to the same month last year. Lending from UK high street banks was up as well Banks on the high street lent £13.8 billion in January, around £1.2 billion more than the amount lent to customers in December. It also represented a jump of 7.7% against the same month last year. More individual mortgage approvals also seen It makes sense this figure would also rise, but we can confirm it with the official figures from UK Finance. January saw 40,117 approvals for property purchases, while the figure for December was a mere 36,085. This is a difference of just over 4,000. Why the rise? “UK Finance believes many people took advantage of great mortgage deals that appeared on the market last December,” said Darren Pescod, CEO of The Mortgage Broker Limited. “I would certainly agree with that. The jump from one month to the next was perhaps slightly higher than some were expecting, but with lots of great deals around, plenty of home buyers did their homework and took advantage of them while they could. “The uncertainty surrounding when interest rates will see another rise has proven challenging for some. Many people are looking to lock in a good deal now rather than waiting. It’s also possible that some people will want to start the New Year with a house purchase that was put off from December and the festive season. However, it remains to be seen how the coming months will lead on from this encouraging start to the year.” A hiccup rather than a trend It is too early to say whether the low figures for December were anything to be more broadly concerned about. However, some experts are looking at January as a return to more normal figures, rather than December being the start of a trend, which was then postponed in January. Only time will tell which version is correct. “Some experts are considering the year ahead may be tough to navigate for the housing market,” Darren Pescod added. “I think it’s perhaps too early to say one way or the other. The festive period always makes housing data difficult to interpret, as some may naturally postpone any thoughts of a mortgage application until the New Year. it’s possible part, if not all, of the outcome this month is down to that very factor.” It also makes February’s figures far more interesting to view when they become available at the end of March.