The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) revealed today that last month UK mortgage lending rose year-on-year for the fifth successive month in a row, although it is still urging caution with regard to Britain’s property market throughout 2012.

Figures regularly compiled by the CML show that in December 2011 the total amount of mortgage deals agreed came to a total value of around £11.7 billion – a 12 per cent fall compared to the previous month, but a 12 per cent year-on-year increase compared to December 2010. For the entirety of last year, there was an impressive £140 billion lent for mortgages in total, a 3 per cent increase on the £136 billion that was recorded in 2010 and way above the trade association’s estimates for 2011.

Commenting on today’s report, CML chief economist Bob Pannell welcomed the figures, saying: “The closing months of 2011 saw stronger mortgage lending activity and housing transactions, despite the fact that short-term economic prospects are challenging.”

However, Mr Pannell had a warning for anyone planning to plunge into the property market over the next 12 months, adding: “Continuing eurozone problems mean that mortgage funding prospects are uncertain, so overall UK mortgage market conditions for the year ahead remain difficult to call.”

One of the reasons for the comparative disparity between the number of mortgages agreed in November and December was the lesser amount of working days in December, due to the Christmas period, the CML clarified later, going on to add that in the final quarter of 2011 mortgage lending had increased 11 per cent year-on-year to a final total of £37.3 billion.

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