Mortgage approvals tiptoe up but still lag behind last year

Mortgage approvals for home purchases hit an eight-month high in November, according to the latest figures from the Bank of England.

There were 67,505 mortgage approvals, up from 67,371 a month before in October and the highest since March when the figures reached 70,079.

The level of approvals was still down on an annual basis from 70,123.

However, the value of lending was higher in November at £12.3bn, up from £11.8bn in October and £12bn a year before.

Mark Dyason, director of Edinburgh Mortgage Advice, said: “There is a growing sense among existing UK home owners that the first rate rise for a very long time could be on the horizon.

“More recently, this feeling has been compounded by the quarter point rate hike in the US in December.

“Most people now accept that rates are unlikely to get any better and are taking action to lock in to the competitive rates that are still, for the time being, available.

“The sense that time is running out on the best rates, coupled with a general softening in prices, especially in prime areas of the country, has kept the market ticking over.

“Ironically, the ongoing uncertainty around the full impact of Brexit has spurred many people into action.

“The philosophy many people have adopted appears to be one of take action now while conditions are at least in their favour.”

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Written by: Houseladder