Gross mortgage lending by building societies and other mutual lenders increased 23% in April 2012 year-on-year, the Building Societies Association (BSA) has reported.
In the first four months of 2012 lending rose 36% compared to the same period in 2011. Net lending by mutuals was positive for a seventh consecutive month.
Mortgage approvals by mutuals were up 50% in April compared to the same month last year, and were 20% higher than the average over the previous six months. Showing a very healthy pipeline, approvals were up 43% in the first four months of the year compared to the same period in 2011.
Retail savings balances at mutuals increased by £99 million in April, compared to an increase of £1,468 million in the same month last year. After interest credited is removed there was a net withdrawal of £463 million in April.
“Gross lending by mutuals increased again in April year on year, whilst lending by banks fell slightly,” said Adrian Coles, director-general of the BSA.
“As expected gross lending was down on the March figure as mortgage lending in that month was boosted by first-time buyer activity to beat the stamp duty holiday. Approvals were strong in April running well above the previous six month average. This clearly indicates that mutuals will continue to be active lenders to homebuyers in coming months.”
He added: “Savings balances at mutuals increased in April, but it remains difficult to attract savers when household finances are still pressed. It was welcome news to learn that consumer price inflation fell half a percentage point to 3.0% in April from 3.5% in March, however this is still above the growth in average earnings, and inflation is not likely to fall back to the 2% target any time this year.”