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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 May 2006, 09:01 GMT 10:01 UK
Mortgage debt nears 1 trillion
A big house in the country
It is not just big country houses that are worth a lot
Mortgage debt has almost reached 1 trillion, according to figures from the Bank of England.

An extra 8.5bn was borrowed to buy homes in April, bringing the outstanding amount of mortgage debt to exactly 999.2bn.

But the value of unmortgaged property is much higher, at 3.6 trillion.

With people owing another 192bn on credit cards, loans and hire purchase agreements, total personal debt now stands at 1.191 trillion.

Outstanding mortgage debt is now certain to go through the 1 trillion level next month.

But while the figure stands as a landmark, Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) chief Michael Coogan believes it does not have any particular significance in terms of policy-making.

"Although it is a milestone, it will perhaps soon be forgotten as home-ownership and mortgage lending continue to grow further," he said recently.

The CML regards the rising figure as an indicator of growing home ownership: up from 60% of the population to 70% in the past two decades.

The CML also argues that there are few signs that home ownership has reached a natural limit. It says it expects continuing growth of both home ownership and mortgage lending in the foreseeable future.

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