Mortgage lending continues to rise, according to CML figures
There was a sharp increase in mortgage lending levels last month as more buyers look to take advantage of rapidly improving residential property market conditions, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
The CML estimates that total gross mortgage lending was £15.2bn in February. Although this was a 6% fall on January's figure of £16.1bn, it represents a 43% jump compared to the £10.6bn lent in February 2013 and the highest total for a February for six years.
"Housing market indicators have continued to be strong over recent months, once seasonal factors have been taken into account," said CML chief economist, Bob Pannell.
The higher level of mortgage loans is being supported by more relaxed lending conditions and cheap borrowing rates, fuelled in part by the Help to Buy Scheme which enables people to buy property with a low deposit, from just 5%.
Pannell continued: "First-time buyers have benefited 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.
"The housing market got a further boost from this week's Budget. This, together with benign developments in the economy more widely, should bolster short-term sentiment and activity."