UK housing market in moderate pick up

SIGNS of life emerged from the UK’s ailing housing market yesterday, with mortgage approvals edging upwards and house prices recording an unexpected rise.

Approvals rebounded by seven per cent from December’s slump, to number 45,723 in January, according to the Bank of England. Meanwhile, the Nationwide house price index was up 0.3 per cent in February, compared to the previous month.

However, mortgage approvals remain below the six month average – of 46,686 per month –, and significantly below their long term average.

“Mortgage approvals have actually averaged 90,000 a month since 1993,” said Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight.

“This was still the second lowest level since March 2009 and mortgage approvals may well have been held back in December by severe weather.”

Nationwide’s house price report still left prices 0.1 per cent lower than the same time last year, averaging £161,183 per house.