Halifax halts decline in home loans

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The Independent Online
HALIFAX, THE country's largest mortgage lender, has at last halted the decline in its share of the new mortgage market, it said yesterday.

The bank said it expects 7 per cent of the UK's new mortgage business in the six months from July, equal to the figure for the first half.

In a statement characterised by one analyst as "a mild positive coming after a period of terrible performance", Halifax said its share of both new mortgage business and net lending will be similar to the first half in a market that will beat all expectations by rising 25 per cent this year.

The former building society's market share had been falling since its flotation in 1997, but it still runs about 15 per cent of the UK's mortgage book. The decline in its share of new business has been halted at the expense of margins in the second half. Aggressive cost-cutting across the home loans market has been stoked by recent entrants.

On savings, Halifax warned investors not to expect anything more than stable balances in the second half, despite it becoming the market leader in Individual Savings Accounts. Halifax shares closed up 1.9 per cent at 684.5p.

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