Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Home loans lowest for 16 years

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The number of home loans taken out in Scotland last year fell by 14,000

The number of mortgages taken out in Scotland last year was the lowest since records began in 1993.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said 47,000 home loans were granted in 2009, 23% fewer than in 2008.

However, there was a pick-up in the number of mortgages taken out in the final three months of last year.

A total of 14,200 loans were issued between October and December, a rise of 4% on the previous quarter and 2,600 more than the same time in 2008.

The rate of increase in mortgage approvals in Scotland was slower than in the rest of the UK.

Between October and December last year the increase in house purchase activity in the UK was 9%, five percentage points ahead of the Scottish figure.

First-time buyers

The slower recovery in Scotland has meant that its share of the UK home loans market fell to 9% for 2009 as a whole, down from a high of 12% in 2008.

The number of first-time buyers in Scotland was unchanged at 5,400 in the fourth quarter, although the value of lending increased in the last three months from £474m to £479m.

Throughout 2009, 17,900 first-time buyers took out a loan, which is a fall of 4,500 on the previous year and again the lowest since the CML began compiling the data.

In line with the rest of the UK, remortgaging volumes remained low in Scotland.

There were 9,000 remortgage loans, worth £900m between October and December, a drop of 1,000 on the previous three months.

For the whole of 2009, there were 39,000 loans for remortgage, that was almost half the number in 2008.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders said it did not expect an increase in lending activity immediately.

CML Scotland policy consultant Kennedy Foster said: "Funding conditions remain challenging, economic recovery is fragile both in Scotland and in the UK as a whole, and with little likelihood of interest rates rising this side of an election, many on low variable rates have little incentive to remortgage."

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