Mortgage-holders pay down debts by £3.2bn

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The Independent Online

Homeowners are continuing to pay down mortgage debts, with figures from the Bank of England confirming the eighth successive quarter of housing equity injections.

About £3.2bn was injected in the first three months of the year, with the focus remaining on cutting back on existing borrowings, instead of piling on new debt. The figures were down on the final quarter of last year, however, when net injections stood at £3.4bn. The peak was struck in the first quarter of 2009, when homeowners raised their stakes in their properties by £7.3bn. The recent trend is in contrast with the persistence of housing equity withdrawals between 1997 and early 2008.

Howard Archer, the chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said of yesterday's figures: "The eighth successive, and still marked, net injection of housing equity... is the consequence of the ongoing desire of many people to improve their personal balance sheets given high debt levels and still serious concerns and uncertainties over the economic situation."