Last month mortgage lending reached £18.9 billion, 6% lower than December but 2% more than last January, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML)
The CML also says last month’s total was the highest for a January since the pre-financial crash peak in 2008.
The number of loans approved has also been increasing since last summer’s Brexit-induced quiet property market, and the CML now says it expect to see 71,000 mortgages approved every month, 10,000 a month more than the period following the EU Referendum.
But the CML’s senior economist Mohammad Jamei says the figures mask a twin-track market.
“Weakness in buy-to-let and home movers have been offset by an increase in first-time buyers and remortgage lending,” he says.
The CML says this trend shouldn’t be a surprise because most government schemes have been aimed at helping boost first-time buyer numbers and that, as a result, there were 360,000 first time buyers during 2016, up 8% on 2015.
“A continuing acute shortage of homes being offered for sale is one aspect of a broken housing market, that looks unlikely to resolve in the near term,” says Jamei.
Jeremy Dunscombe from the Legal & General Mortgage Club, says: “The start of the new year has seen positive sentiment across the mortgage market, however an acknowledgment that the market still faces challenges – particularly in the Buy to Let sector.
“The Government’s commitment to help build the hundreds of thousands of more affordable homes that our nation needs will further improve the diversity and inclusivity of our housing market, but is unlikely to impact 2017 directly.”