LONDON , Jan. 21 -- The Council of Mortgage Lenders issued the following news release: Gross mortgage lending was an estimated Pounds17 billion in December, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders . This matches November's gross lending total, however, it is 49% higher than December 2012 (Pounds11.4 billion) and the highest total for a December since 2007. This brings the estimated total for the year to Pounds177 billion, up from Pounds143 billion in 2012. Gross lending for the fourth quarter of 2013 was therefore an estimated Pounds52 billion. This represents a 5% increase on the third quarter of last year and a 38% increase on the fourth quarter of 2012 (Pounds37 billion). This is the highest lending amount by quarter since quarter three of 2008. Commenting on market conditions in this month's Market Commentary, CML chief economist Bob Pannell observes: "Short-term growth prospects for the housing market and the wider economy look very positive. Mortgage lending was stronger than we expected in the closing months of 2013, but lenders expect little if any boost to borrower demand this quarter. "While some of these gains reflect government schemes, the rationale for the positive narrative is a much broader one, reflecting such factors as the improving economy and jobs market, consumer confidence and competitive mortgage deals". CC AutoTriage1pm-140122-30TagarumaMar-4608933 30TagarumaMar
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