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House purchase activity highest since pre-Stamp Duty spike – BoE

  • 01/03/2017
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House purchase activity highest since pre-Stamp Duty spike – BoE
Activity in the house purchase market has recovered to levels last seen almost 12 months ago, as mortgage approvals for those buying homes reached their highest levels since February 2016.

Statistics from the Bank of England showed January’s house purchase mortgage approvals rose for the fourth consecutive month to reach 69,928. While these transaction levels remained 4% lower than January 2016, when 72,754 loans were approved, dropping to 72,278 the following month, activity has been improving steadily since lows of 61,884 and 61,411 seen in July and August respectively last year. Month on month, transactions rose 2%. The six-month average for house purchase approvals is 65,066.

Approvals for remortgaging increased by 13% year-on-year from 41,761 in January 2016 to 47,155 last month, but dropped slightly on December when 47,560 remortgage loans were agreed. The remortgage approval six-month average is 43,956.

Andy Knee, chief executive of LMS, said: “We start the new year as we mean to go on. The UK housing market has demonstrated remarkable resilience since the vote to leave the European Union in June last year, contrary to doom-monger predictions before the referendum. The value and volume of [house purchase] approvals secured on dwellings both rose from December to January, beating its previous six month average, and painting a rosy picture of the health of the market as hopeful homeowners and movers take advantage of the record low rates currently available.”

Gross mortgage lending rose 7% between December and January from £20.4bn to £21.8bn, producing annual growth of 5% and gross mortgage lending in January reached £20.8bn.

Since April, after the spike in lending to £27bn in March when buyers rushed to beat the Stamp Duty levy deadline, lending has languished in the regions of £19.5bn, fluctuating up and down throughout the year until November when it began to steadily climb. January represents the third consecutive month of rising gross lending levels.


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