Lending for home purchases in the UK in July increased 19% from last year’s level, the first monthly year-over-year increase in home lending since early 2007, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said Monday. Loans were originated to purchase 56,000 homes worth £7.5bn (US$12.4bn) in July this year, up from 47,000 houses worth £7.1bn in July 2008. The US market has seen an influx of first-time homebuyers thanks in part to an $8,000 federal tax credit. In the UK, where there is no such tax incentive, 20,400 first-time homebuyers purchased homes in July, up 18% from June 2009 and 22% from July 2008. But the bigger push was from "home movers," or buyers that had already purchased a home in the past. There were 35,700 home movers in July, up 28% from June 2009 and up 17% from July 2008. More than 75% of UK mortgages were fixed-rate loans, and the average rate was 4.7%. “It's tempting to call the turn in the mortgage market at this point, and there is certainly concrete evidence that lending for house purchase is increasing,” said CML economist Paul Samter. “But there are still constraints affecting the lending industry's capacity to fund increased lending, as well as less consumer motivation to remortgage for the time being. The overall lending picture is likely to stay relatively subdued for some time, especially as the wider economy is far from robust as yet.” Remortgaging, or mortgages originated to refinance loans, is still weak, the council said, and at £14.5bn, gross lending is grew for the second straight month in July, but was still down 42% than in July last year. Write to Austin Kilgore.