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February mortgage lending shows healthy trend for 2012

29th March 2012 Print

Gross mortgage lending by building societies and other mutual lenders rose 28% in February 2012, compared to the same month last year. New mortgage approvals - the future pipeline of completions, were also up 31% on February 2011 and 29% on January 2012, indicating an increased level of consumer activity with mutuals.

On the other side of the balance sheet mutuals experienced a retail savings outflow of £87 million in the month compared to an inflow of £359 million in February 2011. This is an improvement on January where the outflow was £1.1 billion.

Commenting, Adrian Coles, Director-General of the Building Societies Association, said: "Gross lending and new mortgage approvals by mutuals continued to rise year-on-year in February, despite growth across the market as a whole remaining relatively flat. The strong financial results released by a number of mutual lenders in recent months show that the sector is well positioned to offer market leading products to its customers and are open for business. "

"Household finances remain under pressure. Rising unemployment, declining real incomes and a lower-for-longer base rate environment combine to make it difficult and less attractive for savers to increase their deposits in savings accounts. It is therefore unsurprising that savings balances fell slightly in February."