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Britain gross lending hits 143 bln pounds in 2012: CML


15:59, January 22, 2013

LONDON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Total mortagage lending in Britain reached 143 billion pounds (227 billion U.S. dollars) in 2012, higher than 141 billion pounds in the previous year, said the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) on Monday.

The CML, with its memebers from banks, building societies and other lenders, said that the gross lending ammounted to 11.7 billion pounds in December.

It predicted that the total lending for 2013 to go up to 156 billion pounds.

"We are more positive about the UK housing market and wider economy than a year ago, despite economic headwinds and downside risks," said CML chief economist Bob Pannell.

"A key reason is that lenders currently face few funding pressures, in part reflecting the funding for lending scheme," said the economist.

Pannell held that "house purchase activity was robust in the fourth quarter, on the back of better mortgage availability and pricing, and we expect this to continue over the coming months."

The key reason behind the lift in the mortgage market is the Funding for Lending scheme, which was launched at the start of August.

The Bank of England has been offering cheap funds to banks and building societies, provided it is then lent to individuals and non-financial companies.

The latest official figures showed that Britain's house prices increased by 2.1 percent in the 12 months to November 2012, up from a 1.5 percent growth in the 12 months to October.

In November of last year, prices paid by first-time buyers were 2.7 percent higher on average than in November 2011, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The CML's members undertake around 95 percent of all residential mortgage lending in the UK. There are 11.2 million mortgages in Britain, with loans worth over 1.2 trillion pounds. (1 pound = 1.59 U.S. dollars)

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