Gross lending in the United Kingdom totaled £29.4 billion (about $58 billion) in December, the highest ever for that month but down 11% from the all-time record reached in November, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, London."The commentators who thought the housing market would crash in 2006 were wrong," said CML director-general Michael Coogan. "Last year the market proved itself to be in robust shape, and we expect it to remain so during 2007." However, Mr. Coogan said recent increases in interest rates "might make many aspiring homeowners think twice about getting onto the property ladder, and we expect to see levels of activity dampen as the year progresses."

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