‘Volatile’ mortgage approvals drop below six-month average

Mortgage approvals “continue to be volatile” and have fallen below the previous six-month average for both house purchase and remortgaging, according to data from the Bank of England.

The latest figures show that purchase approvals in February fell to 63,910 (compared to 67,478 in January) and remortgage approvals are down to 46,622 (from 49,242 the previous month).

Net lending remained in line with the previous six-month average at £3.7 billion while annual growth in secured lending was unchanged at 3.3%.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, commented:

“This is another survey demonstrating the relatively volatile nature of the present housing market - up one month, down the next - as buyers and sellers come to terms with new market realities.

Clearly prices are softening in some areas more than others and people are moving much less often because it is so expensive to do so. It is only those who are recognising the change in market conditions who are getting on with moving.

“Prices continue to be supported by low interest rates and shortage of supply, although we have found signs of improvement in listings as we approach the traditionally busier spring selling season.”

Danny Belton, head of lender relationships at Legal & General Mortgage Club, added:

“Despite being traditionally quieter months of the year, the mortgage market is clearly in a strong position. Lending is still on the rise as borrowers continue to take advantage of low mortgage rates, whilst first-time buyers benefit from more sustainable house price growth and ongoing support from schemes such as Help to Buy and Shared Ownership. 

“However, we also must recognise that there are still issues which make getting onto the property ladder a challenge. Housing supply remains an issue that can’t be ignored.”


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