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Preparation for interest rate rise sees mortgage approvals fall

by: Adam Williams
  • 18/08/2015
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Preparation for interest rate rise sees mortgage approvals fall
The number of house purchase approvals has fallen as the market prepares for interest rates to rise, research from e.surv has found.

Its findings showed that 65,356 house purchases approvals registered in July. This figure is 1.8% lower than the previous month and down on the same point in 2014.

The firm said interest rate uncertainty was to blame for the fall as banks prepare to raise rates.

There have been mixed messages from policymakers in recent weeks. The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted to keep interest rates at 0.5%, but talk of an increased base rate has continued.

This situation has caused financial institutions to reduce the number of loans handed to first-time buyers and those with small deposits.

A total of 11,400 of loans to these buyers were completed in July, 7.1% down on a year ago.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said the interest rate discussion was having an impact on the market.

“Their hawkish rhetoric has had a knock-on effect on the mortgage market, with some banks beginning to withdraw their lowest-interest mortgage deals,” he said.

“In turn, this appears to have dampened demand for house purchase lending in the short-term, whilst stimulating remortgage activity.

Sexton added: “The Bank of England has as much reason as anyone to be careful about rocking the boat. With incomes rising and inflation staying low, many borrowers have been making hay while the sun shines and paying down their mortgages, while others have been taking the very sensible decision to lock in to low rates.

“For now, it’s a waiting game – but it is reassuring to see that this level of uncertainty has had a limited impact on the number of approvals. What we see here are banked coals, not fading embers.”

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