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U.K. Lenders Boost Commercial-Property Credit as Values Gain

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Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. lenders made more credit available to commercial-property purchasers in the fourth quarter as a rebound in the market boosted demand.

Lenders were more willing to provide commercial-property debt to corporate borrowers for the fifth consecutive quarter in the fourth quarter, the Bank of England said in its Credit Conditions Survey published today, citing an index compiled by the bank. The measure rose to 14.8 in the fourth quarter, the highest since the survey began in 2007, from 0.7 in the previous three months, the BOE said.

“Business confidence is booming, growth is back, unemployment is down, inflation is down and monetary policy is very loose,” Rob Wood, chief U.K. economist for Berenberg Bank, said by phone. “This is feeding through into stronger growth, improving banks’ appetite for risk and it’s feeding through into commercial property.”

Values of offices, stores and warehouses gained for the seventh straight month in November as Britain’s economic recovery gained momentum, Investment Property Databank Ltd. said in December. Buyers acquired 19.9 billion pounds ($33 billion) of income-producing property in central London last year, the most in six years, broker Cushman & Wakefield Inc. said in a Jan. 2 report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Neil Callanan in London at ncallanan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net

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