The figures are in, and according to the British Banker’s Association, unsecured credit borrowing by households increased by £76 million in August, marking the first increase since 2009.
During the financial crisis, borrowers tended to take a cautious approach by paying back more than they borrowed. However, the BBA says that consumer confidence is growing once again.
Consumer Confidence is on the Rise
According to the banking body, August saw £8.4 billion in new credit card spending, eclipsing the £7.8 billion in average spending occurring during the previous six months.
Meanwhile, outstanding credit card balances now sit at £38.7 billion, reaching an all-time high.
The BBA claimed that repayments were still outstripping overdrafts and new loan borrowing. However, this is occurring at a slower pace than previous years.
On an additional note, the BBA said that there are more product choices available to consumers, which may have an effect on the growing borrowing numbers.
According to David Brooks, statistics director of the BBA, “Demand for unsecured credit is starting to increase due to improving consumer confidence and more competitive offers available.”
Mortgages on the Rise
The BBA figures also indicate that mortgage approvals in August reached a four-year high.
The BBA stated that government schemes established to jumpstart the housing market, such as the Help to Buy Scheme, were increasing mortgage approvals and helping first-time homebuyers get onboard the property ladder.
August mortgage approvals by the large High Street banks for home purchases totaled 38,228, the BBA said. This was a 2.1 percent increase over the previous month, signaling the continued rise of housing market activity.
HM Revenue and Customs data reveals that the number of UK property sales in August 2018 rose 19 percent over the previous August, reaching 89,460.
However, home sales remain significantly below the figures witnessed during the housing boom as there were 50,000 fewer property sales this past August than in August 2007.
Cheaper mortgage deals of late have led to a growing number of homeowners choosing to remortgage as well, the BBA said. According to the BBA, there were 22,665 remortgage approvals in August, a four percent increase over the previous month.
“Increased mortgage and credit card borrowing are a clear indication of returning confidence, and should help fire a demand-driven recovery. But any celebration of the consumer credit market’s return to health is tainted by the continued fall in lending to business,” stated Colin Levins, chief executive of Platform Black.
According to the BBA, new business loans being issued by the High Street banks are occurring at a slower rate than the repayment of current loans.