By Max Clarke

A 7.2% increase in mortgage lending in April has prompted hopes that the UK housing market is showing signs of stabilising.

Loans to first time buyers jumped 8% in the same month to £1.9 billion- partially allaying the increase in property rentals.

The value of mortgages is also on the increase- hitting a 2 year high of 80% of the value of the property- though this remains below the prerecession average for first time buyers of 90%, figures published today by the Council for Mortgage Lenders reveal.

"The market continues on a stable footing and the increase in house purchase lending is a good sign that the stability will continue throughout 2011,” said CML director general, Michael Coogan.

“However,” continued Coogan, “the economic outlook, coupled with Bank of England subdued approvals data for April, suggests a muted summer for mortgage completions so we do not expect further increases in lending over the coming months."

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