Temporary setback says RICS
Commenting on today’s Bank of England mortgage approvals, RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “Today’s numbers from the Bank of England provide confirmation that mortgage lending activity took a tumble in January. The number of mortgages approved was the lowest since May last year. The ending of the stamp duty holiday on properties valued between £125 and £175k clearly had some impact on activity but the scale of the drop suggests that the adverse weather conditions may have played an even bigger role. This is consistent with the comments of surveyors responding to the January RICS Housing Market survey.
“Our judgement is that this downturn in transactions will prove temporary and that buyer interest will have rebounded in the February data. Lack of mortgage finance, or the requirement for relatively large deposits, remains an issue as does the absence of sufficient good quality properties for sale. Even so, we still expect the number of mortgage approvals granted per month to quickly climb back to the high 50,000s seen as the back end of last year. Over the course of 2010, this figure should gradually climb to nearer 70,000.”