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Savings on the up

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Building societies had net inflows of £868m in February compared to £409m in February 2005. Net advances were £629m in February 2006, versus £602m in February 2005, a 4.5% increase. Mortgages approvals were £3,646m in February 2006 up from £3,394m in February 2005.

Brian Morris, head of savings at the Building Societies Association, said: “The amount saved in building society accounts last month was the highest for any February since 1997. Savings have been significantly stronger over the last few months, while high street spending has been restrained. There are indications that consumer confidence in the economy as a whole is falling and precautionary savings appear to be rising as a consequence.”

On a seasonally adjusted basis, February’s mortgage approvals were slightly down on January’s high. While the market remains strong, indeed out-stripping some commentators expectations, a slowing number of loans agreed but not yet made could signal a slight moderation after a relatively buoyant winter.”

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