By value, house purchase approvals increased 26% year-on-year to 12.3bn in December .
Monthly, the value of approvals remained static while transactions crept up slightly from 70,424.
The number of remortgage approvals rose by 27% from 32,847 to 41,708 year-on-year, the value of which reached £7.1bn up from £5.1bn the previous year. Looking back at November, transactions had increased by 6% up from 39,374 and 4% in value from £6.8bn.
Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), said: “Growing numbers of homeowners are wising up to the fact that it pays to remortgage, particularly if moving from a poor value Standard Variable Rate. Borrowers who are comfortable with a long-term commitment can take advantage of today’s rates by locking into a fixed product, avoiding higher mortgage bills when an interest rate rise eventually kicks in.
“For those who do not have the comfort of already sitting on the property ladder and are looking to buy for the first time, the outlook is still positive. Although not quite up to pre-recession levels, mortgage approvals for house purchase have improved markedly in recent years and lenders are battling for business. However, with house prices continuing to rise, affordability remains a concern, and today’s low mortgage rates aren’t a permanent fixture of the market.”