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Mortgage lending reaches new record in UK

Gross mortgage lending in the UK reached a new record in June, due to seasonal effects as well as the cost of higher interest rates, the Council of Mortgage Lenders reported. Although lending in June was up by 9% on May, this was a lower monthly increase for June than in each of the last two years (12% in 2006 and 15% in 2005). The Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML) warned the Bank of England today not to raise interest rates to 6 per cent despite revealing that mortgage lending soared to a record £34.2 billion in June. One of Britain’s biggest financial trade bodies urged the Bank’s rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee to “carefully assess” the impact of the five rate hikes made over the past year before taking any further action. Despite the record level of mortgage lending, there are signs that the market is feeling the cumulative effects of the five interest rate rises we have seen over the past year.

Mortgage rates holding steady

Mortgage rates held onto last week's substantial gains and 30-year fixed-rate loan remained at 6.73 percent for the week ending July 19. One-year adjustable rate mortgages averaged 5.72 percent this week, up from 5.71 percent last week. Last year, 1-year ARMs averaged 5.8 percent. June's housing starts unexpectedly rose to 1.47 million units, construction of one-unit houses still saw a decline of 0.2 percent: At 1.15 million units. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.38% for the week ending Thursday, down just slightly from last week's 6.39%. The mortgage averaged 6.41% a year ago. To obtain the rates, the fixed-rate mortgages required payment of an average 0.4 point, while the ARMs required payment of an average 0.5 point.

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