Lending and approvals by building societies and mutuals rise year on year in January

Lending statistics released by the Building Societies Association show that in January gross mortgage lending by building societies and other mutual lenders rose by 32% compared to January 2011.  A total of £1.9 billion was lent, a rise from £1.4 billion.  Compared with December 2011 the figure was slightly down, from £2 billion.
The number of mortgage approvals was also up.  £1.7 billion of mortgages were approved in January.  This is a 54% increase from January 2011.  However, this figure was slightly down on the number of approvals in December, when £1.8 billion was approved.
These figures show a steady market, with a general increase in both gross mortgage lending and mortgage approvals.  This may show tentative signs of an increased confidence in the property market, as interest rates remain low and inflation falls from its peak last September.    
 Adrian Coles, Director-General of the Building Societies Association commented:
"New lending and approvals for house purchase picked up across the market in January, perhaps in part due to first-time buyers taking advantage of the stamp duty holiday before it ends in March. Lending activity by mutuals was up significantly in January compared to the same month last year, continuing the trend of increased lending by the mutual sector seen throughout 2011."
It seems that the market is remaining steady at the moment.  However, with the Stamp Duty holiday for first-time buyers on properties up to £250,000 ending on 24 March it remains to be seen whether the trend will continue past the spring.  
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