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David Catt, Chief Operating Officer at Hometrack, comments on today's Bank of England data.
"Today’s mortgage approval and lending data from The Bank of England shows this is the fastest annual growth rate in the stock of secured lending since early 2009. The figures illustrate the continued growth in lending which has underpinned the pick-up in house prices over the past 12 months. However the pick-up remains off a very low base compared to pre-2009.
"Lenders' business plans will be factoring in an acceleration in lending growth in 2016. However, buy-to-let, was a major driver of lending volumes in 2015 and this sector of the market grew by 17%. The changes announced by the Chancellor on tax relief for higher rate taxpayers and stamp duty are set to slow the speed of growth in the buy to let market from Spring 2016 onwards. The tax changes could well result in some disinvestment over the next 3 years as borrowers reduce leverage to align to the lower level of interest tax relief. We still expect some further growth in buy to let lending over 2016 but at a much reduced rate.
"Even so, home purchase lending still has the potential to drive stronger lending volumes over the course of 2016 and into the future. The various stimulus schemes provided by the Government look set to drive further sales, albeit with a delay as these schemes seek to ramp up activity following launch. More detail is also required on mortgage terms and availability particularly when it comes to Starter Homes but they should make a contribution to what will be an upward trend.
"Finally, with an interest rate rise on the horizon the greatest potential for growth comes from increased activity among existing home owners. Property transactions among those with existing mortgages is at a 10 year low (just 33% compared to 50% in 2007) and we expect that to increase. Overall, we expect lending volumes in 2016 to head towards £220bn, which is rather less than some may be anticipating."
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