Friday 4 January 2019 10:23 am

Mortgage approvals decline in November as Brexit uncertainty impacts housing market

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The number of mortgage approvals fell to a seven-month low in November as Brexit concerns continued to rattle the housing market.

Mortgage approvals fell to 63,728 in November, down from 66,709 the previous month, according to new figures from the Bank of England (BoE) released today.

Mortgage lending rose by £3.5bn in the same month, lower than the £4.1bn recorded in October but in line with averages since 2016.

The figures reflect continued uncertainty in the housing market in the run-up to Brexit.

Earlier today it emerged UK house prices fell by 0.7 per cent in December. Annual house price growth is at its lowest level in almost six years, according to figures released by Nationwide.

Kevin Roberts, director of the Legal and General Mortgage Club, said the political uncertainty around Brexit – and the potential for a future interest rate rise – has created hesitancy around the housing market.

“However, the mortgage market actually shows a positive outlook. Despite the Brexit deadline looming, growing flexibility and choice continues to attract borrowers looking for a good deal," he added.


Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, added: "Given the uncertainty surrounding Brexit that was raging during November, these figures are fairly encouraging as they show a market that is flat at best, rather than in sharp decline.

"Mortgage approvals may be well down compared with the pre-crisis period but on the positive side we have moved away from boom and bust towards a more settled situation."

Jeremy Leaf, a former Rics residential chairman, said: “The mortgage approval figures, though a little historic, do nevertheless demonstrate some continuing resilience in the market, even at a time of huge political turmoil.

“However, we remain stuck in a price-sensitive, needs-driven environment, especially at this time of year, showing again a larger correction is unlikely while prices are supported by very low mortgage and unemployment rates, as well as improving affordability and stock shortages.”

BoE governor Mark Carney has come under fire previously after warning a no-deal Brexit could result in house prices crashing by 30 per cent.

Parliament will vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal in the week beginning 14 January.