RTTNews - UK's number of house purchase loans increased 16% on a monthly basis to 35,600 in April, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said on Thursday.

Year-on-year, the number of house purchase loans declined 28% in April.

In April, 69% of borrowers took out fixed rate mortgages with an average rate of 4.83%. This was the highest share since June 2008, the CML said.

The number of loans for remortgage declined 22% month-on-month to 31,000 in April. Annually, remortgage loans dipped to 65%.

Gross mortgage lending stood at GBP 10.5 billion in April, down from GBP 11.5 billion in March.

Similarly, loans to first time buyers increased 11% to 13,500 in April. On an annual basis, first time buyers loans decreased 28%. The average first-time buyer had a 25% deposit, unchanged since February.

The slowing rate of decline in these measures and the recent introduction of a number of higher loan-to-value products may indicate an easing in criteria in coming months advances, the CML said.

CML head of research, Bob Pannell said, With the interest rate cycle now at its floor, an increasing proportion of borrowers are taking out fixed rates, including for longer term periods of 5 to 10 years. With expectations for rates to remain low in the near future, shorter term fixed-rate deals are less appealing than attractively priced variable rate deals.

Further, Pannell noted that there are tentative signs of house purchase lending stabilizing. However, considerably higher transaction levels are yet to surface to underpin house prices, he added.

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