Mutuals report strong November figures

Meanwhile net lending by all other lenders was minus £2.1 n in the year to November 2013.

Mutuals gross lending market share for the first eleven months of 2013 was 23%, up from 21% during the same period last year.

Robin Fieth, chief executive of the Building Societies Association, said: “Building societies and other mutual lenders have performed strongly in their two core markets, savings and mortgage lending, over the past year.

“Mutuals have almost doubled their net lending to homebuyers in 2013, and almost a third of mortgage loans have been to first-time buyers, who are key to a thriving housing market.

“The mortgage market and the wider economy is now showing signs of recovery, but with this has come some concern from consumers about a potential rise in interest rates.

“However, many homeowners have opted to fix their mortgages over the past year to take advantage of the current low interest rate environment and to provide some resilience against future interest rate rises.”

BSA data revealed that in the year to November 2013 the vast majority (96%) of loans made by mutuals to first-time buyers were at fixed rates.

Fieth said: “If interest rates do increase they will do so gradually, and hopefully against a background of rising incomes as the economy continues to recover.

“If consumers are concerned about rising mortgage costs and the impact this could have on their finances then there are a number of fixed rate products available on the market which could help. Consumers should speak to their lender or mortgage broker to find the best solution for them.

“Whilst mutuals have increased their lending in 2013, underwriting standards have remained high, and levels of arrears have actually reduced over the past year, as they have done across the market.

“The mutual sector has performed better than the market as a whole in this area with levels of arrears at two thirds of the market average.”