House purchase loan approvals totalled 60,786 in January, compared to 60,349 in December.
Remortgaging approvals dropped from 32,736 in December to 31,640 in January, with the number of approvals for other purposes at 8,774, compared to the average of 9,685 over the previous six months.
Lending secured on dwellings remained unchanged on levels seen in December at £1.6bn, compared to the average monthly increase of £1.8bn over the previous six months. Gross lending secured on dwellings was £16.4bn in January down from £16.5bn in December, with repayments at £15bn.
Paul Hunt, managing director of Phoebus Software said that while the number of mortgage approvals were lower than the average over the previous six months, it was “expected”.
“There is of course the seasonal element to be considered, historically January has always been a quieter month after the Christmas holidays. However, there are definite markers for an improving market with the availability of higher LTV products and longer term mortgages, and sellers now understanding the difference that the new stamp duty rules have on their ability to move up the ladder,” he explained.
“Add to this improved real earnings and lower than expected inflation and we have a landscape that, even with the impending election, is likely to tempt sellers and buyers into the market.”