Belfast Telegraph

£214bn mortgages advanced as market defies expectations

By Vicky Shaw

Mortgage lending has been stronger than expected this year, with around £214bn of home loans being handed out across the UK during 2015, banks and building societies have reported.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said it had revised its forecasts upwards for the remainder of this year and 2016.

It added that lending would end the year in a stronger position than it was in at the start, helped by the recovering economy and cheap mortgage deals.

In January, around £14.7bn of mortgages were handed out, and the CML said that during November this figure was estimated at around £19.9bn.

Mortgage lending in November was around 23% higher this year than 12 months ago.

As a result, while the CML previously estimated that £209bn of mortgages would be handed out during 2015, it revised that figure up to £214bn.

Next year, it expects £237bn of home loans to be awarded, an increase from the previous estimate of £230bn.

In 2017, around £261bn of mortgages will be advanced, the industry body predicted.

CML economist Mohammad Jamei said: "Lending is set to finish the year stronger than it started, with the pace of lending recovering over the summer months.

"As we've said for the best part of 2015, lending continues to be supported by strong fundamentals, which are low inflation, strong wage growth, an improving labour market and competitive mortgage deals.

"Reflecting this recovery, we estimate lending this year will reach £214bn, up from our earlier estimate of £209bn."

Looking ahead, the CML forecast that the number of house sales taking place would continue to be limited by housing affordability pressures and housing supply shortages.

It said that while there had been efforts to inject activity into the housing market with schemes such as Help to Buy, these had been slow to take effect.

The organisation also warned that the buy-to-let sector would face a "challenging period" over the next year, with a three percentage point stamp duty increase set to kick in for people purchasing homes to rent from April.

Belfast Telegraph