Mortgage lending across the residential market grew by 4.7 per cent in December, compared with the same month the previous year, latest household finance data has shown.
Data released by UK Finance today (January 25) showed gross mortgage lending was £21.1bn in the month, and £267.5bn in the whole of 2018, some 3.8 per cent higher than in 2017.
However, the number of mortgages approved overall by the main high street banks in December 2018 was 2.4 per cent lower than the same month the previous year;
While approvals for home purchase were 5.3 per cent higher, remortgage approvals were 5.8 per cent lower and approvals for other secured borrowing were 18.9 per cent lower.
Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance, said: "Mortgage lending grew in December compared to the previous year, with borrowers defying seasonal trends and purchasing a property throughout the festive period."
Alex Colville, director for Bromige Financial, said: "It’s positive that home buyers can now buy property and house prices are actually becoming affordable, which will hopefully create momentum over the coming months.
"But considering that the number of remortgages and other secured borrowing has reduced, it shows that the market slowed down over the year. Whether this is due to Brexit is questionable or that house buying remains unaffordable."
Figures also showed that shoppers spent £11bn on credit cards over the festive period last year, which was 8.8 per cent higher than the previous year.
Over the 12 months, credit card borrowing stood at 4.7 per cent and personal borrowing through loans and overdrafts grew by 3.4 per cent.
Personal deposits also grew by 0.6 per cent over the year, and deposits held in instant access accounts were 2.4 per cent higher than last December.
Mr Colville added: "The marked increase in credit card spending shows that consumers are still preferring to use credit cards as a payment method rather than as a means of borrowing, perhaps due to added protection and benefits.
"But these figures should also highlight a worrying trend if consumers cannot pay these credit cards off."
Girlie Garduce Burn is a freelance reporter for FTAdviser