Latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) show the number of loans issued to landlords soared by 26 per cent in the last quarter of 2014, when compared to the same period in 2013. It means in the final quarter of last year landlords received around £7.7 billion worth of loans from banks and building societies, which was a 32 per cent increase on the fourth quarter of 2013.
The number of loans issued to first time buyers saw little change when looked at on a quarterly, annually or monthly basis.
These figures highlight how there continues to be a disparity between lending to landlords and that to those looking to purchase their first home.
However, the total number and value of loans recovered to levels not seen since before the financial crisis, helped in part by government schemes like Help to Buy.
Overall for 2014, the total number of loans for home purchases that were issued grew by 11 per cent when compared with 2013 and reached its highest annual lending level since 2007.
This means that throughout 2014 the cumulative value of loans grew by 19 per cent versus the year before, which was also the biggest total seen since 2007.
It seems that the data will add fuel to the fiery arguments that are growing over the decline of home ownership in the UK and the fact that landlords continue to benefit from a number of tax breaks.
But despite the record lending figures over the year, price growth in the housing market appears to be slowing down, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
A recent report showed that a slowdown in prices over the latter part of the year was noted and the annual rate of increase in prices in the London market also fell to an 11 month low.
This slowdown is expected to persist throughout this year too, according to Paul Smee, the director general of the CML.
He says: `Mortgage lending has softened in the last quarter, and we`d expect this steadying of the market to continue in 2015.`
Mr Smee expects challenges to the housing market come from potential new policies that could be imposed if the coming general election results in a new government. Furthermore, preparation work on the European directive implementation could cause some issues.
However, he concludes by saying the industry is ready to meet the challenges going forward.
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