Colossal rise in consumer credit and mortgage approvals, says Bank of England data

Recent figures from the Bank of England revealed that British consumers borrowed a colossal £1.6 billion in January 2016 – representative of the second-highest level on record in more than ten years.

The Bank of England found that consumer credit had risen by 9.1% year-on-year.

The figures released came close to record numbers reported back in November 2015 – which were the largest on record since June 2005.

The rise in borrowing coincided with the January sales period, which saw Britons “rediscover their zeal for borrowing”, according to chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, Samuel Tombs.

The trend mirrored consumer borrowing in November 2015, when the heavily publicised ‘Black Friday’ sales encouraged spending, and unsecured lending climbed to its highest level in more than a decade.

High street clearance sales clearly had a heavy influence on borrowing hikes, but the Bank of England also reported that the number of people taking out mortgages hit a two-year high in January of this year – with a total of almost 75,000 mortgages approved.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) have predicted that buy-to-let landlords are rushing to buy property ahead of 3% second-home stamp duty changes due to take effect from April 2016.