UK mortgage approvals steady as money supply gauge improves

BRITISH mortgage approvals for house purchase held broadly steady in August, Bank of England (BoE) figures showed yesterday, while consumers paid down unsecured debt at the fastest rate since records began in 1993.<br /><br />Mortgage approvals, a lead indicator of housing demand, slipped fractionally to 52,317 last month, broadly in line with expectations, from an upwardly revised 52,404 in July. Mortgage lending came in slightly stronger than expected at &pound;1.009bn , its highest since February, against a contraction of &pound;203m in July.<br /><br />Separate figures showed the M4 measure of money supply grew just 0.1 per cent in August while the BoE&rsquo;s preferred money supply gauge -- M4 excluding intermediate other financial corporations -- rose by 0.2 per cent.