Mortgage lending in the UK shows little sign of slowing down as the Council of Mortgage Lenders says lending in March may have hit a record high.
Latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders suggests total lending was up £24.5bn in March from £20.5bn in February, making it the strongest level of lending in the past four months.
This could also prove to be a new record after the figure has been adjusted for seasonally factors, the CML says.
Lending for house purchase experienced the strongest increase in March, rising by 24% to £11.3bn.
Despite rising house prices, first-time buyers also seem to be returning to the market, with people looking to step onto the property ladder for the first time and accounting for about 31% of new house purchase loans.
Remortgaging activity continued to increase during last month, but experienced only a modest 12% rise compared with the February figure.
Michael Coogan, CML director, says: "It now seems clear that the housing market has experienced an upswing in the first quarter of this year. The scale of activity has been stronger than anticipated, and we now expect the Bank of England to be watching the housing market very closely."
That said, he cautions borrowers to be wary of any future increases in interest rates. He says; "The reality is that there is no consensus about the future direction of the market - or about how far interest rates may rise. So it is currently very difficult for borrowers to make their borrowing decisions.
"In these circumstances we would urge borrowers to think carefully about how they would cope with higher interest rates," he adds.
Another survey by the British Banking Association suggests mortgage lending rose by £6bn in March compared with a recent average of £5.5bn a month.
David Brooks, BBA director of statistics, says: "The month [March] saw a large rise in mortgage lending and, with consumer credit rising by more than in February, individuals' appetite for borrowing shows little sign of abating."IFAonline
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