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Mortgage approvals hit six-month high

Written by: Hannah Utley
The number of approvals for home purchases reached a six-month high in February, with authorised mortgages rising steadily month-on-month, Bank of England (BoE) data shows.

The latest BoE statistics showed that house purchase mortgage approvals reached 61,760 in February, compared to a six-month average of 60,750. February’s house purchase approvals were the highest since August when they reached 64,212.

The data contrasts findings published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders earlier this month, which showed gross mortgage lending dropped in February by 9 per cent compared to January.

Remortgage approvals rose to 32,099, beating the six-month average of 31,687.

Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, said the Bank of England’s data showed a ‘consistently improving mortgage market’.

“Government schemes aimed at helping first-time buyers are proving to be hugely successful, with the Help to Buy ISA announced in the Budget set to raise awareness even further.”

He added: “The lack of inflation, and talk of an interest rate cut rather than a rise, could have an impact on people’s inclination to take on new debt. There are certainly plenty of cheap mortgage rates to tempt them.

“While swap rates ticked up in past weeks, they have since fallen and with lots of capacity in the market as lenders such as HSBC and Tesco look to boost their offering via brokers, mortgage rates are likely to remain extremely competitive in the months to come.”

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