The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) has stated that gross mortgage borrowing of £12.4 billion in December was 24% higher than a year ago and overall new borrowing in 2015 was some 6% higher than the previous year.
The number of mortgage approvals in December was 24% higher than a year ago, with remortgaging up 31% and house purchase up 19%.
There were 262 million credit card purchases in December, with a total value of £13.7 billion. This was an aggregate value 3% lower than December 2014 (£14.2 billion).
Richard Woolhouse, chief economist at the BBA, said: “Last year was a strong year for household borrowing. There was a 6% rise in mortgage borrowing compared to 2014 and consumer credit expanded at more than 5% annually within an overall unsecured market which is growing at nearly 10% annually.
“Over the last few years businesses have been reducing their bank borrowing partly by deleveraging or by refinancing debt through capital markets; 2015 saw business lending other than construction and real estate move into positive annual growth.
“This data shows that the amount spent on credit cards in December declined compared to 2014. It seems that consumers were less reliant on credit cards to fund purchases last month despite Christmas shopping and seasonal sales.”
“Today’s figures highlight the continuing strong year-on-year growth across the housing market,” added Charles Haresnape, group managing director of mortgages at Aldermore. “In spite of December traditionally being a slower month, the numbers reflect continued activity among house buyers and owners looking to re-mortgage.
“With record low mortgage rates across the market, it is unsurprising to see re-mortgaging up by almost one-third on last year’s levels. December also saw the launch of the Help to Buy: ISA, so it will be interesting to see if savings deposits are up for this month too.”