UK Finance data has revealed that gross residential mortgage lending increased by 4.7% in December when compared with the figures from a year earlier. The overall lending In December grew from £20.1 billion to £21.1 billion.
Whilst the annual mortgage lending figure of £267.5 billion was up 3.8% on 2017’s figures, the £23.8 billion of lending issued in November, highlights the 11.6% decrease in lending on a month-on-month basis.
Eric Leenders, UK Finance managing director, said: “Mortgage lending grew in December compared to the previous year, with borrowers defying seasonal trends and purchasing a property throughout the festive period.”
Jeremy Leaf, North London estate agent, comments: “These figures show that sales are still happening, where buyers and sellers are taking a longer-term view, prompted perhaps by the need to live near schools, work, or downsize. Negotiations can be tough but more successful when the parties concentrate on the difference between the buying and selling price – not the headline figure.
“Transactions and mortgage approvals/advances have proved to be a better indicator of future property market health for us than more volatile prices which vary considerably area by area and are often influenced by local as well as national factors.”
Alastair McKee, One77 Mortgages managing director, commented: “This positive increase in market activity is certainly something we’ve noticed at ground level with a strong uplift in buyer enquiries and commitment to products across the board, which has been lacking in previous months.
“However, while this initial spark may be enough to start the engines, it can’t fuel the UK property powerhouse in the long-term unless it converts to completed sales. With many sellers refraining from the reality of current market conditions in terms of asking price, it could be a few months yet until any notable indicators of market stability filter through.”
Whilst the country enjoyed slight increases in lending last year, the decrease will worry many that are looking to boost a market that is increasingly concerned by Brexit implications.
What will these figures suggest for conveyancers?