Christmas has come early for the mortgage industry which is celebrating the highest monthly lending figure for more than seven years.
Gross mortgage lending in October hit £21.8 billion, up 8% from September's total of £20.1 billion, according to latest gross mortgage lending figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
This is the highest monthly figure since gross lending reached £23.6 billion in July 2008.
Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said mortgage brokers are busy as borrowers increasingly turn to an intermediary to help navigate the post-Mortgage Market Review world.
“Those who can jump through all the necessary hoops will be rewarded with some very competitive rates indeed, a trend that shows no signs of abating as lenders vie for business and interest rates look set to remain low."
Harris said the biggest challenge for borrowers is meeting lenders’ affordability criteria, as property prices continue to rise in many areas while wages fail to keep pace.
“First-time buyers will find it difficult unless they have assistance from the Bank of Mum and Dad. This should keep a lid on the market and ensure we don’t return to runaway growth."
Jeremy Duncombe, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, welcomed the fact that intermediaries now account for 70% of overall lending.
“This is good news for consumers as it means that more people are benefitting from full advice.”
Peter Rollings, chief executive of London estate agency Marsh & Parsons, said Christmas appears to have come early for borrowers this year.
"We’re yet to clear the pre-crisis July 2008 benchmark but month-on-month improvements are getting more cheerful as we approach the festive season.”