Stamp duty amnesty boost for mortgage lending
Mortgage lending was 10% higher than a year ago during January as first-time buyers rushed to complete deals before the end of a stamp duty amnesty.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said its year-on-year figures improved for the sixth month in a row after its members lent £10.5bn in January.
Although 14% weaker than December, the CML said the performance was in line with improved market sentiment.
It believes the March 24 deadline for the end of the stamp-duty free period for first-time buyers on properties under £250,000 has boosted activity.
CML chief economist Bob Pannell said: "Should inflationary pressures continue to fall back, the squeeze on household finances should ease progressively and help support stronger economic recovery going into the second half of the year.
"This can only be good news for the housing market further down the track."
Nicholas Leeming, business development director at Zoopla.co.uk, said: "It's important lenders keep introducing attractive mortgage deals to boost activity. If not, we're in danger of taking one step forward and two steps back."