Nationwide, one of Britain’s largest mortgage lenders, just unveiled a set of stellar half year results. It was so good that statutory profit before tax was up 34% at £802 million ($US1.2 billion).
And within the announcement, it revealed two key points that prove Britain’s economic recovery is a lot stronger than people give it credit for.
Firstly, a whole load more people are getting on the property ladder. Its half year results show:
- Record half year gross mortgage lending, up 14% at £14.9 billion.
- Helped 25,700 first time buyers in to a home of their own, up 8%.
“We have reinforced our position as the UK’s second largest mortgage lender by outperforming our natural par shares of lending. Our gross lending was the highest ever in a half year period … and our net lending was also up 14% at £4.1 billion … representing market shares of 13.2% and 21.2% respectively,” said Graham Beale, CEO of Nationwide in a statement.
This is a big deal because it’s not necessarily easy to get a mortgage these days, even though Britain’s property market is booming — there is a whole host of strict mortgage lending checks you have to go through before you secure a loan.
British regulators and the Bank of England formed some pretty stringent policies to make sure that people who want to get a mortgage never takes a loan that is larger than 4.5 times the size of the household’s salary. And in addition, even people who take out of a mortgage have to be stress-tested to be able to withstand an interest-rate rise of around 2% higher than current rates.
So Nationwide’s results, as one of the country’s biggest mortgage lenders, are a key indicator into how many people are getting on the ladder.
Secondly, despite fears people are taking on more debt and not saving enough, Nationwide highlighted in its results that it has raked in more deposits:
- Strong savings performance: increased our member deposit balances by £2.6 billion.
- Particularly strong ISA season: 33% of total market change in ISA balances.
“The savings market in the early part of the financial year was dominated by NS&I Pensioner Bonds, which continued to attract deposits that would otherwise have been placed with traditional savings providers, including Nationwide,” said Beale. “However, since their withdrawal in May, we have recovered our position and over the half year our member deposit balances have increased by £2.6 billion.”
So while more people are able to get on the housing ladder and therefore take on more debt, it is showing that more people are also financially liquid enough to put away cash for the future.
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