BoE figures: Robust mortgage activity in November

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UK mortgage lending was robust in November 2016 with 126,407 approvals worth £20.4bn.

A total of 67,505 loans were approved for house purchase, up from an average of 64,178 over the previous six months.

And 45,683 loans were approved for remortgaging compared to 42,664 in the previous six months.

Paul Hollingsworth, UK economist at research consultancy Capital Economics, said the results were weaker than expected but showed UK bank lending was robust.

He said: “November’s UK money and credit figures provided a further sign that bank lending has not taken a significant hit from the Brexit vote.

“Admittedly, the rise in mortgage approvals from 67,371 in October to 67,505 in November was weaker than the consensus expectation of an increase to 68,500.

“But it was still higher than the average over the past six months and corroborates survey evidence suggesting that new buyer demand is returning to the housing market, following a lull in the months surrounding the referendum.”

Jeremy Duncombe, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, reckoned consumers took advantage of low interest rates which kept activity strong.

He said: “As we welcome the start of the New Year, those borrowers on a standard variable rate or coming to the end of their mortgage term who have not yet considered remortgaging should speak to an adviser.

“There is no telling when rates could rise, and it could even be this year. By contacting a broker, these individuals will put themselves in the best position to secure a good deal on a new mortgage and save themselves a significant sum of money, something that many will value particularly as we end the festive period.”

Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, described the mortgage market as ‘steady as she goes’.

He said: “While confidence is a little uncertain given potential economic headwinds such as the forthcoming Brexit negotiations, cheap mortgage rates are proving attractive and those who have to get on with the job of moving are continuing to do so.

“Lenders are keen to get off on the right foot this year with a number offering incentives such as cash back to entice borrowers, rather than cutting rates yet again and squeezing wafer-thin margins further.”

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