Mortgage approvals dip in November - but are still 25 per cent higher than the same period last year

Emma Haslett
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Repossessions Continue To Increase Due To Economic Downturn
Mortgage borrowing dipped slightly in November (Source: Getty)

It may be hours before the great Christmas getaway begins, but the British Bankers' Association (BBA) hasn't let that get in the way of bringing you Serious News. This morning the organisation said the number of loans dished out to homebuyers has dipped, falling to 44,960 in November, down from 45,463 in October. No festive frivolities there...

The number of mortgage approvals was still 25 per cent higher than November last year, while remortgages were up 31 per cent and lending for house purchases was up 20 per cent. So hardly a slowdown.

And despite the drop in the volume of mortgages, gross mortgage borrowing still hit £12.8bn, down very slightly from October's £12.9bn.

It's worth pointing out that the number of people trying to get a mortgage is likely to increase next year as people rush to get a mortgage before stamp duty on buy-to-let properties is hiked by the Treasury.

Howard Davies, chief UK and European economist at IHS, pointed out that the chancellor's attempts at cooling the housing market in the Autumn Statement - which included jacking up stamp duty on buy-to-let homes - have yet to take effect.

"In the near term, it is very possible that the decision... will lead to an increase in housing demand and exert upward pressure on prices as prospective buyers look to beat the increase. Further out, the move could modestly dilute housing market activity and upward pressure on prices.

"While the chancellor has announced measures aimed at boosting housebuilding in the Autumn Statement, it will take time before they have a significant impact on housing supply – and that is assuming that the measures prove successful. Furthermore, the shortage of properties is acute so sustained, major progress needs to be made on the house building front to really eat into this problem."

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