Nationwide profits rise despite Covid impairment charge
Nationwide Building Society reported a strong rise in half-year profits despite a £139m Covid-19 impairment charge.
Britain’s second biggest home-loan lender said pre-tax profit rose 17% to £361m for the six months to September 30, boosted by strong demand for buy to let mortgages.
Net lending fell to £1.6bn against £3bn last year. Total gross mortgage lending for the period was down to £12.7bn from £16.3bn.
Activity in the housing market fell sharply in lockdown but recovered strongly with mortgage approvals in September tracking 39% higher than the previous year. Annual house price growth increased to 5.8% last month, its highest level since January 2015.
“It is very hard to predict what will happen to the economy, jobs and the housing market in the near future as a result of the pandemic and Brexit,” Nationwide said on Friday.
“The scale of interventions to support people and jobs to date has been extensive and will limit the long-term damage, but the outlook remains unpredictable.”