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Mortgage approvals up to post-crisis high

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The number of new mortgage completions in January remained unchanged compared to the same month last year, with banks and building societies lending £22.7bn, according to the Bank of England (BoE).

This figure was down slightly from the £23.1bn lent in December 2019, which was the highest since March 2016 when landlords were attempting to beat the introduction of the stamp duty surcharge.

However, approvals for new lending were up to 137,185 – the highest level since the financial crisis.

This was up 4.6 per cent year-on-year and up 3.6 per cent on December 2019, which had been the highest level since August 2018.

Perhaps most encouragingly, mortgage approvals for house purchases rose to 70,900 in January, 4.4 per cent higher than in December, and the highest since February 2016.

Approvals for remortgage also rose on the month, by 3.9 per cent to 52,100.

Andrew Montlake, managing director of mortgage broker, Coreco, said: “A combination of Brexit lethargy in the closing stages of 2019 and Boris Johnson’s landslide General Election win saw a major bounce back for mortgage approvals in January.

“During November and the first half of December many people sought to get their houses in order before the nation went to the polls. Once the General Election result was in even more people started to make their move.

“Homeowners and prospective buyers alike are wary of future house price rises and are seeking to buy property before the market moves against them.

“People are also locking into the exceptional fixed rates currently available.

“The big question is how long the Boris Bounce lasts, as while there is a sense of optimism at present that could fade very quickly if trade negotiations turn sour.”



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