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Last Updated: Monday, 20 June 2005, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
UK mortgage lending sees pick-up
A ledger with a row of figures
Mortgage lending is lower than a year ago
Mortgage lending picked up slightly in May, according to the British Bankers' Association (BBA) and Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

The CML said gross mortgage lending reached 22.4bn in May, up 3% on the month before but down 7% on a year ago.

The BBA said mortgage lending rose by 4.3bn in May, up 300m on April.

The BBA figures also showed an increase of 117m in credit-card lending during May, reversing the surprise 40m net repayment of card debt in April.

However, the increase in credit-card and mortgage debt is far below levels seen throughout most of 2003 and 2004.

"Mortgage lending was below its recent average and, although personal loans saw an average rise, credit card lending by the major banks continued at a very low level in line with weak retail sales," said BBA director of statistics David Dooks.

Slowdown warning

The Bank of England has also warned that a slowing housing market could hit the wider UK economy.

There is evidence that prices are falling, but it is happening much more slowly than we were expecting
Ed Stansfield, Capital Economics

The Bank noted that movers are two to three times more likely to buy high-cost goods for their homes than people staying put.

The Bank estimates that a fall in the number of home sales by 100,000 could mean a 0.9% drop in annual spending on household and audio-visual goods.

The idea of consumers taking a more cautious approach was supported by Building Society Association (BSA) figures.

The BSA said that mortgage lending was down year on year while consumers were paying more money into savings accounts.

Overall, 795m extra cash went into building society accounts in May compared to 475m during the same month in 2004.


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