LONDON (Reuters) - Britons continued to extract equity from their homes at a robust pace in the first quarter although at a slightly slower rate than at the end of last year, Bank of England data showed on Wednesday.
Housing equity withdrawal eased to 13.2 billion pounds in the January to March quarter from a downwardly revised 13.3 billion pounds in the fourth quarter of 2006.
Rising house prices in recent years have encouraged Britons to refinance home loans to free up cash for other spending.
Withdrawals totalled 6.1 percent of post-tax income in the first quarter, unchanged from the previous three months.
Renewed strength in the housing market has seen housing equity withdrawal recover from a low of 3.1 percent of post-tax income in early 2005 but it remains well below peaks of around 9 percent seen in 2003.
“The surge in housing equity withdrawal has stopped but housing equity withdrawal remains relatively firm as a proportion of household net income,” said Philip Shaw, economist at Investec.