Lending for residential property purchases has increased significantly in recent months – the July figure of £16 billion showing a 26 per cent rise over June. August and September have both shown gross mortgage lending of about £12.5 billion, which, whilst a considerable improvement on the beginning of the year, is still well below levels seen a couple of years ago: in 2007, mortgage lending averaged over £30 billion per month.

House prices have recently shown modest rises, helped by the fact that there has been an increase in demand at the lower end of the market, with more than a third of house purchases being made by first-time buyers.