The latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reveal that gross mortgage lending hit £17.6 billion in February this year, boosted in part by borrowers seeking to complete on buy to let mortgage transactions prior to the 1 April Stamp Duty Land Tax deadline.
While this estimate is 5% lower that January’s gross lending figure of £18.5 billion, it is 30% higher than February last year, which came in at £13.6 billion.
It is also the highest lending total for a February since 2008 when lenders advanced £24.1 billion to borrowers.
Mohammed Jamei, CML economist, said:
“Lending continues the year on a positive note, with our monthly estimate showing an increase of 30% in February compared to a year ago.
This growth rate is in line with what we saw in the closing months of 2015. The recovery is being underpinned by market fundamentals in the UK, as wages grow and unemployment falls, helped by government schemes and competitive mortgage deals.
But we think it unlikely that there will be any significant acceleration in lending. While there may be a slight current boost to lending as some transactions seek to complete before the 1 April tax changes in the buy-to-let-sector, this is likely to be followed by a slight fall in activity.
Affordability pressures continue to weigh on activity, as does the low number of properties coming on the market, though this has been improving very recently.”