MORTGAGE approvals climbed to a six-month high in February, according to figures released by the Bank of England yesterday
Mortgage approvals for house purchases numbered 61,760 in February, up from 60,707 in January.
Net mortgage lending rose by £1.74bn, the fastest growth in three months.
Recent surveys of the housing market have shown a cooling in house price growth. Mortgage lender Nationwide last week said British house prices rose in March by the smallest annual amount since September 2013.
While figures from Halifax also show a slowdown, year-on-year growth remains at elevated levels – over five per cent, according to Nationwide, and at eight per cent, according to Halifax.
The mortgage market was interrupted last year by the introduction of the Mortgage Market Review – a strict set of mortgage rules. Double-digit annual house price rises and falling affordability also put consumers off of borrowing.
“Today’s data from the Bank of England show that momentum is returning to the mortgage market with loan approvals for house purchases steadily climbing from month to month. Homebuyers are showing no signs of being dissuaded by uncertainty surrounding the election, and are taking advantage of market conditions that are ripe for borrowing at affordable rates,” said Brian Murphy, head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau.
“The combination of low inflation, moderating house price growth and a delay in the base rate rise seems to be working in consumers’ favour. Fierce competition between lenders is also a significant factor behind the rise in approvals. The emergence of more specialist lenders to compete with the high street brands means that, even with rigorous affordability checks in place, customers have more options than ever to explore getting a loan.”