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The latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) show that mortgage lending has increased by a third year on year and that it is the strongest month in almost five years (your report, 21 August).

While this report shows some confidence is returning to the market, it is worth bearing in mind that much of the increase in mortgage approvals is down to government-backed schemes.

These initiatives are generally in place to help first-time buyers and encourage the construction industry to build new developments. This is indeed good news for the housing market but there are local market variations and it is important to bear in mind that we are still far from the halcyon days of the housing boom.

The picture is certainly improving, but we must be careful not to give too much hype to the situation. There are still economic uncertainties for many people, and a cautious approach should be taken to avoid the events of recent years.

So, while I welcome the latest figures, we should remember that buying a new home is the biggest purchase we as individuals will possibly ever make. We should be armed with the facts, take into account good local market intelligence and ensure we are level-headed in our approach to house buying and selling.

Matthew Gray

Pagan Osborne

George Street