Mortgage approvals hit nine-month high

Mortgage approvals hit a nine-month high in December at 67,898, Bank of England figures show.

The figures show that mortgage lending for house purchase increased from 67,461 in November, but this was still well below the peak of 73,091 recorded in January 2016.

The data brings approvals up 10.7% from August’s low of 61,335.

The value of lending secured on properties rose by £3.8bn in December, the highest flow since March 2016, according to the figures.

But analysts are still unconvinced about the strength of the housing market.

Howard Archer, of IHS Global Insight, said: “While the latest data points to a pick-up in housing market activity from August’s low, it is still hardly racing ahead. Furthermore, latest survey evidence from the RICS was somewhat lacklustre.

“We believe the fundamentals for house buyers will progressively deteriorate during 2017 with consumers’ purchasing power weakening markedly and the labour market likely softening.

“Additionally, housing market activity is likely to be limited in 2017 by softer consumer confidence and reduced willingness to engage in major transactions.”

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