Mortgage lending continued to hit record levels in October, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Societies Association.
Total CML gross lending in October rose to £27.5bn, up by 8 per cent from September's £25.4bn and up by nearly a third on last October's £21bn.
The BSA says society gross advances reached £5.2bn in October, up from £3.1bn in October 2002.
The CML says remortgaging accounted for 44 per cent of lending while house purchase took 47 per cent.
First-time buyers continued to fall, representing 27 per cent of loans for house purchase, down from 28 per cent in September and 39 per cent last October.
Fixed-rate lending fell in popularity, with 34 per cent of the total from 43 per cent in September. But the CML points out this figure is still considerably higher than last October's 22 per cent.
CML director general Michael Coogan says: “Lending levels continue to confound expectations. We expect the recent resurgence in the housing market to result in high lending levels in November too, as people try to complete their moves before Christmas.
“The November rise in interest rates means mortgage payments have risen for people with variable rates. Although further rate rises are not guaranteed, they seem likely and consumers should borrow with caution.”
BSA director general Adrian Coles says: “Building society net advances tripled in the year to October 2003, starkly re-emphasising the attractions of building society mortgage products in a strong housing market and an active remortgage market. Societies' market share has grown strongly this year.”