Belfast Telegraph

Nationwide's profits soar as lending drops

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

Nationwide has reported a fall in mortgage lending in the UK in the latest sign of cooling in the housing market.

The building society said it had also been affected by new home loan rules as gross mortgage lending fell 9% to £5.8bn in the first quarter to the end of June.

Its market share also shrank to 11.4% from a strong period last year when it stood at 15.5%.

However, Nationwide was boosted by a rise in current accounts and savings deposits as underlying pre-tax profits more than doubled to £263m from £121m in the same period last year.

Finance director Mark Rennison said that how long signs of cooling in the housing market would continue was "difficult to gauge".

He said it was unlikely to fall "to any really significant degree", particularly as the supply of housing demand continued to fall short.

But of the latest figure, he said: "It is another instalment of some evidence that the market is certainly not continuing to heat up, and there is a degree of cooling going on."

In May, Nationwide boss Graham Beale said the market in London was starting to ease off its "frenetic" pace.

Mr Rennison said those had been the first signs of "a degree of cooling going on in the market place". He added: "The evidence has continued to build to support that. We do think we have a seen a degree of cooling in recent months."

Meanwhile, yesterday's quarterly results showed that deposits grew by £1.5bn to £132bn and current account market share rose from 6.2% to 6.4%.

Mr Beale said: "Following on from a robust financial performance last year, our first quarter has delivered another strong set of results."

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