BoE figures – robust October for mortgage approvals

Ryan Bembridge

November 29, 2016

October saw mortgage approvals rise both in terms of volume and value, the Bank of England’s Money and Credit data has revealed.

There were 67,500 house purchase approvals in October to a value of £12bn, up from 63,600 and £11.2bn in September.

There was also a slight uptick in remortgage approvals to 43,500 with a value of £7.6bn, up from 42,600 and £7.4bn in September.

Jonathan Sealey, chief executive of bridging lender Hope Capital, said: “Although some businesses have remained cautious, consumer confidence and lender appetite has continued to grow post-Brexit, and indeed much quicker than first anticipated.

“It will be interesting to see if the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement which reinstated the government’s commitment to housing through targeted and sustained investment is enough to tackle the housing crisis.”

A number of commentators reckoned the Brexit uncertainty, with Article 50 set to be triggered early next year, is making people keener to get their deals done now.

Mark Dyason, director of independent mortgage broker, Edinburgh Mortgage Advice, said: “The strong October mortgage approvals data for house purchases underlines how Brexit has actually spurred people into action rather than driven them away from property.

“People are aware that rates have never been better and at the same time are uncertain about what’s coming next politically.

“As a result, they’re moving now rather than risk getting their plans skewered by some other major development in 2017.

“Brexit has created uncertainty but increasingly that uncertainty is causing people to act rather than do nothing. Uncertainty is emboldening buyers to take action.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, agreed. He said: “These numbers are encouraging as they show considerable resilience in the market, demonstrating again that the short-term fears about Brexit were overestimated and the long-term implications may have been underestimated.

“Needless to say, the real test of the market will come in early 2017 when we will see whether or not these approvals have been translated into increases in sales.

“The figures are particularly welcome as at this time of year people have other things on their mind and we expect a slowdown in the run up to Christmas. We wait with anticipation as to how people will respond in the New Year.

“However, even with the festive season almost upon us there is still a determination among many to get on with buying and selling at realistic price levels.”

Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, told consumers to take advantage of low rates now. He said: “However, the lowest rates may not be around much longer with some lenders starting to increase the pricing on longer-term fixes on the back of rising swap rates.

“Nationwide has increased the rates on some of its 10-year fixed mortgages by 0.3 percentage points, for example, while West Bromwich also recently dropped its market-leading 10-year fix.

“Borrowers have had it very good for a long time but it is important to remember that this is not likely to be the case for ever and if you see a competitive rate, you should probably secure it rather than wait in the hope that it will become lower still as this is unlikely.”

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