The Bank of England reported on Wednesday that mortgage lending to home buyers in December was at its highest for nearly a year, although approvals remain low compared to the long term norm.

UK Mortgage Lending Increases

UK Mortgage Lending Increases

The number of residential property mortgage approvals in December was 55,785, with economists estimating that a level of 70,000 to 80,000 being consistent with stable prices.

Figures from the Bank of England (BoE), that were published last Friday, showed that the bank’s Funding for Lending Scheme, which went into operation in August 2012, may finally be starting to increase the amount of money being lent by banks and other mortgage lenders to residential property buyers.

Meanwhile, the UK Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) estimates that there remain 719,000 residential properties in the UK with mortgages that are worth more than the price paid for the property.

Overall, the CML estimates that negative equity has reduced across the UK from a peak of more than 800,000 households, and says it is significantly below the levels during the early 1990s property crash, when it peaked at 1.6 Million residential properties.

Figures recently published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that between 2006/08 and 2008/10 debt levels increased everywhere in the UK, except London, as total debt other than mortgages reached £94.7 Billion (GBP) in 2010.

Net mortgage lending increased by £1.026 Billion (GBP), the largest amount since April 2012 and interest rates on new secured loans to households fell to their lowest since April as well.

This was the fifth consecutively monthly increase, whilst £12.4 Billion (GBP) was advanced by lenders, £11.9 Billion (GBP) was repaid.

Overall, net household lending rose by £1.685 Billion (GBP) after stagnating the previous month. With unsecured consumer lending rising by £649 million (GBP), the biggest rise since September and a much stronger increase than economists had forecast

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