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LONDON-Despite record levels of outstanding property loans, a new survey from Jones Lang LaSalle and Investment Property Databank shows that banks remain cautious about property lending. Bank of England figures showed that for the year to June 2001 total property lending increased by £15.0 billion ($21.3 billion) to £63.7 billion ($90.45 billion) – the largest annual increase ever recorded. But JLL and IPD’s analysis of lending transactions shows no evidence of a reckless approach to lending.

The analysis shows that re-mortgages remain represent 35% of current lending compared with an average of 21% in 2000. And half of all lending was directed towards investment property, down from an average of 65% in 2000. Lending for development activity remains a very small part of the market. As in Quarter 1 development accounted for 12% of lending, and just 1% of this was for speculative development.

On lending terms, the average loan-to-value ratio has remained steady since the beginning of the year. And the average margin on lending increased between Quarter 1 and 2, with virtually no loans granted at margins of less than 80 basis points over LIBOR.

Rupert Clarke, Managing Director of Jones Lang LaSalle Corporate Finance, said ‘Certainly today’s lending market is completely different from the previous lending surge of the 1980s. Our experience is that lenders are remaining prudent. It is also interesting to note that, according to the Bank of England, the rate of increase in property lending has been slowing since the record quarterly increase of £5.5 billion in the last quarter of 2000.’

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