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January leap in house purchase approvals

Written by: Adam Williams
House purchase approvals grew faster in January than at any point since April 2009, figures released by e.surv suggested.

Its monthly mortgage monitor said there were 9.1 per cent more house purchase approvals in January 2015 than the previous month, the biggest rise in almost five years. In total 65,778 approvals were made in January, the firm said.

However, these figures are down on January 2014 when 75,557 mortgages were approved.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said with rates still falling across the board many borrowers were holding out for a better deal.

“The New Year has brought a new market and lenders have a desire to return to growth,” he said.

“The January lending uptick is testament to this, as borrowers key in to mortgages while interest rates remain at historic lows. However, undoubtedly, some potential borrowers remain thoughtful about the approaching election and are playing a waiting game.”

First-time buyers were among those who benefitted most in January with more than 10,000 high loan-to-value mortgages approved. These borrowers made 15.3 per cent of the total market compared to 13.9 per cent in December.

“Whilst the Mortgage Market Review and loan-to-income caps are preventing what has previously been perceived as higher risk lending, equally we have Help to Buy supporting and encouraging first-time buyers,” Sexton added.

“With the announcement that the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee is going to be given new abilities to place caps on loan-to-value ratios, it looks like the purchase mortgage market could be closely managed and scrutinised in the run-up to the general election.”

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