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Remortgages boost lending in return to fixed rates

Lending volumes rose by 8 per cent in April although activity remains weaker than a year ago, says the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The monthly increase in gross mortgage lending to 26.1bn from 24.1bn in March, comes after two months of decline, although the figures are 5 per cent down on April 2007.

Remortgaging accounted for 42 per cent of gross lending and proving more resilient than purchase as large numbers of borrowers come off fixed-rate mortgages.

There was a rise in the proportion of borrowers taking out fixed-rate products, increasing to 59 per cent from 54 per cent in March.

Director general Michael Coogan says: “House purchase lending volumes continue to be lower than last year’s levels and there will be a further weakening in coming months as recent approvals data has shown.

“Tighter criteria make it more difficult for some borrowers to get a mortgage but they also reduce risk in a slower housing market. There has been a resurgence of fixed-rate lending as borrowers are seeking certainty. This trend is likely to continue as the anticipation of future bank base rate cuts has diminished.”


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