Good news for buyers as lending increases
Home-owners received a boost last year as mortgage lending rose to £143 billion thanks to improved confidence in the property market.
Lending increased by around £2 billion in 2012 and will reach £156 billion this year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
This is despite a dip last month when £11.7 billion was lent, compared with £12.7 billion in November 2012 and £12.2 billion for December 2011.
CML chief economist Bob Pannell said: "We are more positive about the UK housing market and wider economy than a year ago, despite economic headwinds and downside risks."
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He added that lenders now faced fewer funding pressures, in part as a result of the Bank of England's and Treasury's Funding for Lending Scheme, which was launched in August and has enabled several lenders to cut their rates.
The CML said market activity was robust in the final quarter of 2012, helped by better mortgage availability and pricing, a trend it expects to continue in the coming months.
For most months in 2012, house purchase lending was above year-earlier levels, while first-time buyer activity accounted for an unusually large 41 per cent of all house purchase loans in December for the second month in a row.