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BoE report reveals lending is set to increase

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by Kay Mitchell

A Bank of England report has revealed that Britain’s banks and building societies are set to make more loans available to homeowners and businesses over the next quarter.

The report also revealed that despite the tightening of lending criteria over recent times, credit availability to larger companies actually increased during the first three months of this year.

“The economic outlook was no longer expected to be a factor bearing down on credit availability,” the Bank of England survey said, of the lenders’ new outlook.

“Improvements in the cost and availability of funds were expected to support increased credit availability over the next three months, added the report.”

Furthermore, demand for secured lending for house purchases and for remortgaging was reported to have fallen over the last quarter but the majority of the banks and building societies questioned for the Bank’s Credit Conditions Survey said they expected an increase in lending to households in quarter two.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, told The Times that today’s survey suggests “various policy measures undertaken by both the central bank and the Government to boost bank lending are starting to have a beneficial impact”.

Mr Archer hopes the recent introduction of quantitative easing will improve matters even further.

In the meantime, the lack of available mortgages has had an impact on the housing market and led to house price falls. However, today the Nationwide revealed a 0.9% month-on-month increase in the average cost of a home, suggesting that the housing market may be stabilising.

The building society said property prices rose last month for the first time since October 2007, taking the average UK home to £150,946.

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