Mortgage approvals rise as housing market remains strong

Jessica Nangle

March 1, 2017

The amount of house purchase approvals has risen to £12.8bn according to figures released by the Bank of England.

The figures for house purchase approvals have been on the rise since October 2016.

Jeremy Duncombe, director at Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Today’s rise in mortgage approval figures highlights the resilience of the UK housing market.”

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And he added: “With the Bank of England rate at 0.25%, borrowers have a perfect opportunity to take control and find the best deal for them.

“By reviewing their existing mortgage deal, borrowers have the potential to save themselves a significant sum of money.”

Remortgage approvals have shown a slight monthly decrease, going from £8.2bn in December to £8.1bn reported in January, however progress appears healthy.

Richard Pike, sales and marketing director at Phoebus Software, said: “For now both house purchase and remortgage show healthy activity, with building societies and challenger banks also reporting strong lending figures.

“There is some uncertainty regarding base rate increases, which is inevitable.  However, with inflation on the rise and house prices continuing to increase, consumers may be more inclined to fix rather than hedge their bets on variable rates.”

Lending secured on dwellings rose by £3.4bn in January, and both gross lending and repayments were above their recent averages.

The statistics also show that the approvals of loans secured on dwellings for house purchase increased for the fourth consecutive month, and at 69,928, were at its highest since February 2016.

Andy Knee, chief executive of LMS, said: “This paints a rosy picture of the health of the market as hopeful homeowners and movers take advantage of the record low rates currently available.”

But he also warned: “Consumer debt is also on the rise with the amount of credit debt rising by £0.2bn over the same period.

“Coupled with rising inflation – something set to increase further as firms pass on the higher costs of goods as a result of Brexit to consumers – this threatens to leave some households with precarious finances and eat into their disposable income.”

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