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Mortgages grow at fastest ever rate

The Bank of England is expected to reveal this week that mortgage debt grew during April by more than in any other month in history.

Leading economists at Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Capital, WestLB and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein are all predicting that the consumer credit figures which will be announced on Wednesday will show that mortgage lending increased by at least £9.7bn in April to more than £800bn, compared with an increase of £9.3bn in March.

The increase in mortgage debt is further evidence that there is no end in sight to spiralling house price inflation. It is also likely to increase the chances of the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee voting to raise interest rates further when it next meets.