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Mortgage lending nears six-year high in July, figures show

High-rise flats under construction in London Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The booming housing market has resulted in more construction

Mortgage lending rose to £19.1bn in July to reach the highest monthly total since August 2008.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said the figure was 7% up from June, and 15% higher than July last year.

Caroline Offord, a CML analyst, said that mortgage lending remained robust, despite regulatory changes earlier this year to toughen lending criteria.

There was a 25% rise in property transactions in the first half of 2014, the CML said.

However, Ms Offord said that affordability pressures could start to affect the property market.

"Economic conditions have strengthened, but while the Bank of England has signalled an improved economic outlook since May, headwinds remain," she said.

A rise in interest rates could hit the housing market, although any increase was likely to be "measured and gradual", she said.

New rule changes mean lenders must do more checks on borrowers' ability to repay loans, something that was blamed for slowing the number of loans and transactions earlier this year.

Net mortgage lending for the first six months of the year reached £10.5bn, which Ms Offord described as a "strong figure" compared to the past five years when the total barely exceeded £10bn for the whole 12 months.

"This is a sign of growth in the market and not just churn," she said.

The Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday that UK house prices had risen by 10.2% over the 12 months to June to hit a new record high of of £265,000. However, the London average was now almost £500,000.

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