Mortgage approvals hit 10-month high

The number of mortgage approvals hit their highest level since last January, data from the Bank of England showed today.

Mortgage approvals hit 54,036 in November, the highest in 10 months, up from 53,071 in October.

Before the 2008 financial crisis, monthly mortgage approvals ran at around 90,000, but the number of home sales has slumped since then and the property market has ceased to be a major driver of consumer spending.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Insight, welcomed the figures although warned that approvals are “weak” compared to long-term norms.

"Specifically, mortgage approvals have averaged 85,773 a month since 1993, while a level of 70,000-80,000 has in the past been considered consistent with stable house prices," he added.

Meanwhile, the BoE data showed today that consumer credit lending rose by £100m in November, compared to the previous six-month average increase of £40m.