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Tuesday, 21 May, 2002, 10:19 GMT 11:19 UK
UK mortgage lending accelerates
A housing estate
Many people are desperate to invest in property
There was a renewed rush to take out mortgages in the UK last month, the latest figures have revealed.

Burgeoning house prices, together with fears that interest rates may now start to rise, pushed mortgage lending to record highs.

The amount of money borrowed peaked at 16.9bn ($24.7bn) in April, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

That's 31% higher than in the same month last year and 5% higher than in April.

"Mortgage and housing markets have been more buoyant that expected this spring, but we expect them to slow later in the year, particularly if there is a modest rise in interest rates in the coming months," said the CML's director general Michael Coogan.

Overstretched?

Separate figures from the British Bankers Association confirmed the rush to get onto the property ladder, setting the third record in four months for the amount of money being borrowed by consumers.

The housing market is continuing to grow strongly, prompting an upsurge in the number of people investing in property.

But there are fears that many people are overstretching themselves, and some people are concerned that the UK is heading for a repeat of the housing crash and negative equity of the early 1990s.

However, house prices have so far continued to rise, defying expectations that the growth must begin to slow.


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21 Jan 02 | Business
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