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Mortgage Demand Highest in Six Years

Demand for mortgages rose at the fastest pace in six years in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to data from the Bank of England.

Responding to the Bank's latest Credit Conditions Survey, lenders described a "significant" rise in mortgage requests, reaching a balance of 62 per cent - the highest recorded figure since the survey began in 2007.

The survey found that increased availability of credit was driven by optimistic expectations for house prices and an increased appetite for risk. Lenders suggested that demand was supported by first-time buyers and homemover interest in the Government's Help to Buy Scheme.

Brian Murphy, head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau, welcomed the increased availability of credit:

"Lending conditions were particularly favourable for mortgage hunters in the last three months of 2013. Pricing became increasingly competitive and mortgage access visibly improved, encouraging hope among first-time buyers with small deposits looking to get on the property ladder," he told the Independent.

"The Bank of England report shows increased availability and willingness among lenders to lend at loan-to-value ratios above 90 per cent. This has undoubtedly been fuelled by Help to Buy, which has normalised 95 per cent mortgages again and created renewed competition among lenders. As a result, there was an influx of affordable products for consumers with low deposits, as even those lenders not participating in the scheme launched their own 95 per cent mortgages."

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