Net mortgage lending climbed by £2.9bn in December, figures from the British Bankers' Association (BBA) reveal.
While this was lower than the £3.2bn in November, and the six month average of £3.5bn, the BBA says significant falls in the Bank base rate, as well as continued financial sector turmoil, means monthly movements are less indicative than usual.
Mortgage approvals for purchase increased to 22,051 in December from 17,339 the preceding month, but remained almost 47% lower than the same point in 2007. There was a marginal increase in remortgage approvals, but this remains 53.5% down on December 2007.
David Dooks, statistics director at the BBA, said: "This first opportunity to compare 2008 with 2007 shows that gross mortgage lending by the main high street banks totalled £170bn, some 23% below 2007's total of £221bn.
However, lending by the rest of the mortgage market was half the previous year's total, showing how mortgage lending became much more concentrated during the year.
"The banks approved less than half the 2007 number of loans for house purchase, reflecting falling demand from households facing greater economic uncertainty and double-digit falls in house prices over the year which led to a wait-and-see mentality."IFAonline
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