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Modest recovery in property loan market in UK signalled by latest data

But this comes on the back of an extremely weak January market, according to figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
It says that one-off factors such as the effect of the end of the stamp duty exemption in December 2009 and the severe winter weather dented the market in the New Year.
So the 35,000 loans worth £5 billion in February signifies a modest recovery, although they were up by 49% in volume and by 67% in value from a year earlier.
The end of the stamp duty holiday in December meant there were fewer first time buyers in January. As a result their numbers rose slightly faster than the rest of the market in February with 12,600 loans worth £1.5 billion advanced, up 13% by number and 15% by value on January.
Home mover activity, which was less affected by the stamp duty holiday of 2008 and 2009, did not see as much of a rebound. The number of transactions were still higher with 22,600 loans worth £3.5 billion, up 11% by number and 6% by value on January.
However, remortgaging activity remains weak despite the number of loans in this sector increasing by 2% in February, the first increase in five months. This weakness in remortgaging is expected to continue for some time yet, the CML said.
With interest rates at an historic low, fixed rate mortgages remain less popular than in the recent past. The proportion of fixed rate mortgages was 47% in February 2010, unchanged from January and the lowest share in around five years.
The share of tracker products in February was 36%, again unchanged from January, but remained at its highest level since the CML began recording this data in March 2005.
‘With the supply of credit still tight and the upcoming election causing political uncertainty, we are unlikely to see much change in the near future although the new stamp duty exemption for first time buyers could boost the market somewhat and we hope to see the traditional seasonal pick up as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer,’ said CML head of research Bob Pannell.
‘The start of the year is traditionally a quiet period for mortgage lending. This year though, transactions have been affected by the ending of 2009’s stamp duty concession and the harsh weather, making it hard to identify clear trends in recent months,’ he added.