Home Loans Surge (but Don't Get Too Excited)

Daily Mail (London), April 15, 2009 | Go to article overview

Home Loans Surge (but Don't Get Too Excited)


Byline: Olinka Koster

HOPES of a recovery in the housing market were talked down yesterday despite a 4 per cent jump in home loan approvals.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders revealed 24,300 loans were agreed in February - normally a quiet month for home-buying - 900 more than in January.

However, they said the overall picture for the mortgage market remained gloomy.

The February figure was down 25 per cent from the number of approvals in December, and 47 per cent down compared with the same month a year ago, when 45,800 were approved.

Activity remained very weak by historical standards, with the number of approvals running at only around a third of the average total for February of 76,000 seen between 2002 and 2007, the CML said.

Tight lending criteria remained a barrier to most first-time buyers, who stumped up a typical deposit of 25 per cent.

The average loan handed to a first-time buyer was [pounds sterling]95,000, down from [pounds sterling]114,000 in February last year, reflecting a dramatic decline in house prices. …

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