Mortgage lending soars in May
Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) have revealed that mortgage lending last month surged to its highest level since October 2008. The CML recorded gross mortgage lending of £14.7bn in May, up 21% on the previous month and 17% higher than May 2012. The boom in activity has been attributed to the Government's Funding for Lending scheme, which has helped banks and other lenders to offer cheaper loans, and the Help to Buy scheme, which provides lenders with a guarantee of up to 20% of the price of the property. Bob Pannell, at the CML, also suggested that the imminent of arrival Mark Carney as the new Governor of the Bank of England had helped to lift the market. "The imminent change of guard at the Bank of England takes place against the backdrop of a modestly improving UK economy, albeit one that appears to rest upon a pick-up in consumer spending and a recovering housing market," Mr Pannell said. Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, said a slew of cheap, fixed-rate deals and lenders' relaxing their criteria has helped the upswing. "This comes as no surprise: finally, the pick-up in business that estate agents and mortgage brokers have been reporting since the start of the year is filtering through to the official figures," he said.