Year to April sees strong growth in lending although figures down since March

The amount of mortgage lending to homebuyers rose 27% in the year to April, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), with the number of loans up 15%.

Meanwhile, government figures revealed that house prices are now rising at their fastest rate since autumn 2007, with a rise of 10.1% over the year to April. The price of the average UK property is now £207,516.

Annual house price growth to April 2010 was 10.9% in England, 2.2% in Scotland and 11.3% in Wales, although in Northern Ireland prices fell 8.9%.

The month-on-month rise in UK house prices did, however, slow between March and April, slipping from 0.7% to 0.4%, according to the Communities and Local Government department.

And while the CML figures show strong annual growth, lending actually fell from the previous month, with 9% fewer loans for house purchase than in MArch. Loans to first-time buyers fell even more, down 17% to 14,300.

The monthly fall in lending is attributed to a seasonal factors, as the Easter holidays generally slow property transactions.

The number of loans to home movers fell 5% over the month to 26,100, but was up 19% since April 2009.