According to the Bank of England data, remortgage lending continued to grow – rising to £7.8bn from £7.1bn in June, however house purchase lending slipped a little to £13.8bn from £14.8bn. (Click graph to expand.)
Mortgage approvals continued the spring surge, with house purchase, remortgage and other secured lending approvals all seeing an uptick.
The 129,950 July approvals confirm a 4.8% rise on June (123,950) and the highest total in two years, suggesting the housing market may be loosening up.
Approval numbers rose by 9% in the three months since its last dip in April. (Click graph to expand.)
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “There is continued strong demand for mortgages, particularly from first-time buyers and those remortgaging onto a cheap fixed-rate deal.
“At the upper end of the market – in the £2m-plus bracket – transactions are fewer but the weakness of sterling continues to attract international buyers in the prime markets.”
LMS chief executive Andy Knee emphasised the surge in remortgaging activity.
“Remortgage approvals soared to their highest level this year as competitive deals offered by lenders enticed homeowners to make the switch,” he said.
“Remortgage approvals are also significantly higher than a year ago – the result of months of rock bottom mortgage rates – which have enabled homeowners to save more on their monthly repayments.”
Knee added that with the longer-term economic picture unstable, he expected borrowers to continue choosing longer-term fixed-rate deals.
“The second half of 2017 will likely pose a challenging set of circumstances for the wider economy, most notably, the ongoing Brexit negotiations,” he continued.
“We are already witnessing people remortgage onto longer term deals for added certainty and financial security and we expect this trend to continue as long as the macroeconomic climate grows ever more precarious.”
£9m terrace house
Data from Land Registry also revealed there were 28,244 residential property sales in July, down from 29,901 in June.
Residential sales in July amounted to 569 in England and Wales for £1m or more, with 329 in London.
The most expensive residential sale was for a terraced house for £9.36m in the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, with the cheapest residential sale in Bishop Auckland, County Durham for £18,750.