Friday 31 May 2019 11:18 am

Mortgage approvals rebound after delay on Brexit deadline

Mortgage approvals for house purchases hit a three-month high in April, rebounding after Britain's March deadline for Brexit was postponed. 

The number of residential mortgages approved in April ticked up to roughly 66,300, nearing a two-year average and bouncing back from a fall in March, according to new data released this morning by the Bank of England (BoE).

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"April’s marked rise in mortgage approvals suggests that housing market activity may well have got at least some temporary support from the avoidance of a disruptive Brexit at the end of March," according to Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY ITEM Club.

Net mortgage borrowing by households was strong for the second month in a row during April, the BoE said, hitting £4.3bn compared with an average £3.8bn over the previous six months.

The annual growth rate of mortgage lending remains unchanged at 3.3 per cent, staying the level it has been at since August 2018.

Andrew Montlake, director of the UK-wide mortgage broker Coreco, said: "Today’s buyer is spoilt rotten. Mortgage rates are obscenely low and, in the majority of cases, buyers are calling all the shots. While the passing of the 29 March Brexit deadline will have spurred some into action in April, a broader Brexit apathy is becoming stronger by the day.

"April was the month when activity levels for brokers started to pick up and this was confirmed in the Bank’s latest data."

However, the figures come on the same day as Nationwide reported a slip in annual house price growth during May, marking the six successive month of rises remaining below one per cent.

Read more: UK house price growth slows in May amid Brexit uncertainty

Prices fell 0.2 per cent month-on month in May, while annual house price growth slowed to 0.6 per cent, falling from 0.9 per cent in April and below the consensus of 1.2 per cent, according to Nationwide.