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'Robust' growth in mortgage lending during February

New data released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reveals strong year-on-year growth in mortgage lending.The total number of loans advanced to homeowners increased by 33 per cent on the figure for February 2013, although it remained practically unchanged between January and February this year.Some 22,000 loans were taken out by first-time buyers during February 2014 - a 41 per cent rise on the previous year's figure. This represents a modest rise on January's total.The number of loans taken out by home movers was up by 27 per cent on February 2013 at 26,200. There was also a strong year-on-year rise in the number of loans taken out by homeowners for remortgaging - this was up by 17 per cent on February 2013 but down by 15 per cent on this January's figure.Gross buy-to-let loans fell to 14,300 in February from 15,700 the previous month but registered a 46 per cent increase in volume compared with February 2013.According to the CML, the dip in lending during February was primarily due to the expected seasonal factors associated with this time of year.Overall, the total number of loans advanced during the month totalled £7.8 billion. This was only slightly lower than January's figure of £7.1 billion and an increase of 47 per cent on February 2013.Paul Smee, director general of the CML, commented: "We would expect a seasonal lending dip around this time of year. However, lending to both first-time buyers and home movers bucks this trend, continuing to show momentum. "The substantial year-on-year growth shows how far the market has moved since the flat period experienced up until around a year ago."Mr Smee said the industry is prepared for the new regulation of mortgages that is due to take effect at the end of April, although lending could be distorted over the coming months.He added that the CML expects further growth in mortgage lending ahead due to the release of pent-up demand from the recession. 

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