The Council of Mortgage Lenders says gross mortgage lending hit £18.9bn in January, up 6 per cent month on month and 2% year-on-year. The trade body says the January figure is the highest for any January since 2008, when the figure was £25.2bn.
CML economist Mohammad Jamei said: “Overall mortgage lending continues to hold up pretty well, but we seem to have a twin-track market. Weakness in buy to let and home movers has been offset by an increase in first time buyers and re-mortgage lending.
“A continuing acute shortage of homes being offered for sale is one aspect of a broken housing market, that looks unlikely to resolve in the near term.”
Legal & General Mortgage Club director Jeremy Duncombe says: “The first set of figures for 2017 set the precedent for the rest of the year.
“These numbers confirm that as gross mortgage lending continues to rise annually, it is still very much business as usual in the mortgage market, despite the economic uncertainty that characterised most of last year.”
Yorkshire Building Society chief economist Andrew McPhillips says: “This annual growth in mortgage lending was most likely driven by an increase in the number of people re-mortgaging to better rates, offsetting the impact of a fall in property transactions.
“Affordability constraints, caused by increasing house prices, the cost of stamp duty and rising inflation, are still hindering the market by limiting the number of people who can afford a property.”
One Savings Bank sales and marketing director John Eastgate says: “The mortgage market has started the year on the front foot, proving its resilience against a cocktail of economic and political uncertainty.
“However despite the rises in both mortgage activity and house prices, it is premature to assume that all is well in the housing market. The housing white paper recognised the problem of undersupply and the affordability issues this generates. The paper has met with scepticism and even if it delivers, this will take time.
“In the meantime, for those who can’t buy, the private rented sector is still to see the full impact of tax and prudential changes for buy to let.”