Summer rise in mortgage lending
The total amount of UK mortgage lending rose sharply in June compared with the previous month, according to lenders.
The amount lent by members of the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reached £12.3bn in June, up from £10.5bn a month earlier.
However, the rise was mainly the result of the common seasonal increase in moving home and the figure was still 48% lower than in June 2008.
A separate Bank of England report suggested a subdued UK credit market.
Overall, mortgage lending in the UK has slumped dramatically since the onset of the banking crisis in the autumn of 2007.
But there have been some signs of greater interest from home buyers recently, and the CML's estimated gross lending figure is the highest of any month this year.
"The pick-up in June's lending largely reflects seasonal factors, and these may well support lending volumes at moderately higher levels over the rest of the summer," said CML economist Paul Samter.
The less volatile three-month on three-month figures show that gross lending in the second quarter of 2009 totalled an estimated £33.3bn, unchanged from the first three months of the year. This is the lowest level since the first three months of 2001.
Mr Samter said that the mortgage market had shrunk in terms of both the number of lenders offering home loans, and the actual number of these loans on offer.
This, as well as fears of job losses and low demand for mortgages among consumers, would hold back any "significant and underlying improvement" in total lending. he said.
The CML has retained its forecast of gross mortgage lending of £145bn this year.
Some brokers believe that a supply of more affordable loans, with lower deposits, could bring back interest from buyers.
"There are more prospective buyers out there now than there have been for some months, despite the tough economic conditions and still fragile consumer confidence. But ongoing mortgage constraints mean many prospective buyers will remain just that," said David Smith, senior partner at Carter Jonas property consultants.
A Bank of England review of the levels of lending found that mortgage activity was still at extremely low levels in May, but there had been some "stabilisation" in housing market activity and prices.
The Bank's "Trends in Lending" report said that the rise in mortgage approvals in June signalled that activity might "continue to strengthen" in the coming months.
But fixed-rate mortgages had become more expensive in June, the Bank said.
With many people unsure of their economic future, owing to the growing level of unemployment, there has been no significant rise in demand for credit such as credit cards, overdrafts and loans.
In fact, the number of people missing repayments on consumer credit rose in the past three months and is expected to increase again.
The report also struck another blow to hopes of an economic recovery by revealing that UK businesses were paying back more of their loans than they were borrowing, with fees reported to have risen in recent months.
Net lending to UK businesses fell by £3.4bn in May after a £6bn fall in April, pushing the annual rate of growth down to 0.1% in May.