BOE: Mortgage approvals hit three-year high

Sam Cordon

July 1, 2013

Mortgage approvals numbered 58,242 in May, the highest reported figure since December 2009, and were up from 54,354 in April.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “Mortgage approvals continue to improve, both for new purchases and remortgages.

“This is entirely what you would expect given the plethora of rock-bottom mortgage rates now available.

“Despite some erratic movements from Swap rates in the past week, mortgage rates are likely to stay low for some time yet.”

Harris said he also expects criteria to continue to loosen as lenders look at ways to attract borrowers other than simply undercutting each other on rate.

Harris said: “While the numbers continue to rise, they are still well below what they were at the peak of the market before the crisis.

“The health of the housing sector is showing a slow and steady improvement but it is by no means out of intensive care just yet.

“Still, the indicators are good and government schemes such as Help to Buy will continue to provide much-needed assistance, particularly for struggling first-time buyers.”

The data also revealed that credit flow to businesses continued to fall.

Lending to non-financial businesses fell by a net £1.27b in May as lending to smaller firms dropped by £452m.

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