NI mortgage lending rises over second quarter of 2013, says CML

Houses in Belfast The Council of Mortgage Lenders said first-time buyers were "the key driver" in the NI market

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There is another indicator that the housing market in Northern Ireland is picking up, with new figures showing an increase in mortgage lending.

A total of 2,400 loans worth £210m were advanced to borrowers in Northern Ireland in the second quarter of 2013, a rise of 20% on the previous quarter.

Most of the mortgages were for first-time buyers. The 1,500 loans to them is the highest quarterly total since 2009.

The statistics have been released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

The council said first-time buyers were "the key driver" in the Northern Ireland housing market.

Brian McCormick, of CML in Northern Ireland, said: "House prices in Northern Ireland are starting to stabilise and in the second quarter we did not see a year-on-year fall which is a very positive sign for the future, alongside lending increases. "

On average, first-time buyers in Northern Ireland borrowed £71,000.

The CML figures also showed a return to growth in another sector of the market - home movers.

However home movers in Northern Ireland only accounted for 42% of the house purchase market, lower than the 55% UK average.

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