Further mortgage lending figures from the British Bankers' Association (BBA) suggest last year's net mortgage lending annual increase of £62.3bn was close to the figure for 2003.
The BBA adds that gross mortgage lending for December at £14.2bn (£5.2bn net) was down 3% from November, and 10% lower than the same period in 2003.
December loan approvals numbered 134,700 and were valued at £11.5bn, a decrease of 14.5% by volume from November, while 29% lower than 2003.
The average sum approved for a house purchase fell back to £118,100.
Growth in overall net consumer credit (£0.8bn, seasonally adjusted) declined in December, in line with weak retail sales, according to BBA, while the increase in loans and overdrafts (+£0.4bn) was down on the monthly average of £0.5bn.
David Dooks, BBA director of statistics, says: “This time of year sees a seasonal weakness in loan demand, but with approval volumes running well below those in the same month a year earlier, mortgage lending is expected to remain relatively subdued in the near-term.”
In comparison with December 2003, approvals of house purchase loans in 2004 were 38% lower by number and 31% lower by value; remortgaging loans, 15% and 2%; and equity withdrawal loans 34% and 28%.
Figures released by the organisation Last week suggested mortgage lending actually increased during December from previous months.
According to the BBA, net mortgage lending (boosted by £0.5bn of internal group transactions) increased by £5.7bn during the festive month with the underlying rise of around £5.2bn more than recent months.
This contrasted with the Survey of Mortgage Lenders (SML) reporting that mortgage sales are now falling as gross mortgage lending for December dropped 13% from the £24.6bn recorded a year earlier.IFAonline
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