Gross mortgage lending in December was the strongest on record, according to figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
This is despite the figure falling by 6% to an estimated 26.3bn. Yet this was 25% more than the 21bn achieved in December 2004 and is the strongest figure for December on record.
The figures also show that gross lending in 2005 totalled 287.5bn, down by 1% on the record 291.2bn in 2004.
CML director general Michael Coogan says: “The commentators who thought lending would fall sharply in 2005 based on the performance of the first half of the year were wrong.
Confidence in the housing market was supported by the realisation that short-term interest rates had peaked.
“The second half of 2005 was characterised by strengthening housing market activity and increased mortgage lending.
We expect this trend to continue into 2006 as mortgage approvals continue to rise. Against this background, house prices should remain resilient in the coming months.”