March saw an expected seasonal increase in mortgage lending, with gross lending rising by 37% from the previous month.
According to the latest DETR/ CML figures, gross lending increased from £7.9bn in February to £10.8bn in March, with loans for house purchase at £7.2bn compared with £5.1bn in the previous month and £6.2bn at the same time last year.
Average mortgage rates increased to 6.1% compared with an average of 5.8% in the same month last year. The average new variable rate was 5.96% and the average fix 6.36%, with 36% of loans being taken out at fixed rates. Building society gross advances rose from £1.5bn to £2.4bn, while total sterling lending by banks increased by £10.4bn.
Michael Coogan, director general of the CML said: “An increase in lending would normally be expected in March due to seasonal factors. But some of this year’s strong rise may be attributed to homebuyers completing purchases ahead of the widely expected hike in stamp duty.”
Meanwhile, figures from the Lord Chancellor’s Department show that repossessions fell in the first quarter of 2000. Possession actions entered in the county courts of England and Wales were over 14% less than in the first quarter of 1999.