Brian Murphy, head of lending at leading independent broker Mortgage Advice Bureau, said:
“Mortgage activity has been very inconsistent all year, and to a large extent this is a reflection of external financial factors resulting in reduced lending appetite. However, while the figures show net mortgage lending by banks has risen in the year to July, it is still at historically low levels, and gross lending figures are down below the recent monthly average. Banks’ approvals for house purchase are 17% lower than this time last year remortgage approvals down 41%.
“While significantly smaller, to a certain degree some of the demand is being soaked up by mutual lenders, who have been offering some very competitive products this year. It was no surprise that in the first half of the year approvals by mutuals was up 45% compared to the same period in 2011.”