A sharp rise in mortgage lending last month reflects seasonal trends rather than a sustainable pick-up in the housing market, economists warned yesterday.

Total mortgage lending hit £12.3bn in June, the Council of Mortgage Lenders revealed, more than 17% up on May's figure of £10.5bn, and the highest monthly total this year. Early summer is traditionally the busiest time of the year for the housing market.

However, last month's mortgage lending was still 48% lower than in the same month last year, and the CML said that over the three months to the end of June, total mortgage advances had been just £33.3bn, no more than in the first quarter of the year, which was the worst period for the sector since 2001.

The Independent