Gross lending figures reached £23.2bn, on par with the £23.3bn in December 2018, however it was above the six month average of £22.1bn and up from November’s £22.6bn.
Mortgage approvals for house purchase rose to 67,241, again above the 65,900 average of the past six months and up on November’s 65,514 figure.
The value of purchase approvals during the month amounted to £13.8bn.
Approvals for remortgage rose slightly on the month from 48,629 to 49,700. The value of remortgage approvals in December reached £9.1bn.
Net mortgage borrowing by households was £4.6bn, above the £4.2bn average seen over the past six months. Month-on-month, this is up from November’s borrowing figure of £4.2bn.
Despite the increase, the annual growth rate for mortgage borrowing remained at 3.4 per cent.
Making the most of a competitive climate
Kevin Roberts, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said consumers were still “clearly reaping the benefits of a highly competitive mortgage market”, while Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco, said recent political events had “focused the minds” of current and prospective homeowners.
“Those already in homes wanted to lock into competitive fixed rates and those seeking to get onto the ladder were keen for it to happen before yet more potential upheaval.
“Activity levels in January picked up yet again but weren’t off the scale. There’s a definite sense that people want to get through 31 January and into February before they assess their position,” Montlake added.
Homeowners staying put
Rob Barnard, director of intermediaries at Masthaven, said brokers had seen remortgage applications increase more than any other kind of lending over the last two years.
“Clearly more and more homeowners are opting to ‘improve not move’ or release equity or funds,” he added.