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Gross mortgage lending in April reached £20.4bn, 13.3% higher than a year earlier, while the number of total mortgage approvals has also risen by 11%, UK Finance data showed.

This increase is primarily driven by remortagage approvals which were almost 30% higher than a year earlier.

Eric Leenders, managing director, personal finance at UK Finance said:“April saw steady growth in mortgage lending and approvals, following a slowdown in activity the previous month.

“This was driven by strong remortgaging levels, as borrowers locked into attractive deals amid expectations of a base rate rise.”

Growth in personal deposits has been 1.4% over the year, slightly down on the previous six month average of 2% but still up year-on-year, with consumers opting for instant access accounts over those with notice.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, said: “These are stronger than expected figures bearing in mind other recent results, not just in terms of lending which is a reflection of previous decision making but approvals which demonstrates confidence in the future.

“Even more so as we are now well into the spring buying season which tends to set the tone for the rest of the year. We are not expecting to see any fireworks as far as pricing is concerned, and once again it is only the property which is priced realistically which is attracting attention.’

“Construction finance contraction is a reflection of longer-term decisions to take on development projects some time ago when the property market began to soften. Continuing weaker market conditions mean a strong pick-up is unlikely in the near future.

“However, we have noted more activity, particularly at the affordable end of the market over the last few months as buyers and sellers come to terms with new, more realistic pricing.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, added: ‘We are witnessing a highly competitive remortgage market.

“Lenders are seeking to increase market share, often providing additional incentives to borrowers remortgaging, including free survey and legal packages.

“The mortgage market is oversupplied which will continue to drive down lender margins and pricing, which is great for borrowers.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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