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Purchase approvals hit highest level in three years ‒ UK Finance

  • 26/06/2019
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Purchase approvals hit highest level in three years ‒ UK Finance
The number of mortgages approved for home purchases jumped sharply in May to the highest level seen in almost three years, according to data from UK Finance.


Almost 50,000 purchase deals were approved last month, up by 9.1 per cent on the same period last year. This is the highest total since June 2016.

However, remortgage approvals dropped by 3.7 per cent over the month to 30,579. Other secured lending increased by 5.9 per cent with a total of 9,712 approved deals.

In total, gross mortgage lending across the residential market in the month was down slightly year-on-year at £21.9bn, a fall of 0.4 per cent. 

However, high street banks saw the value of their gross lending grow by 3.5 per cent to total £14bn.


Encouraging given uncertainty

Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, said that with the political uncertainty that has caused many people to put on hold decisions over whether to move property, the increase in home purchase deals is “hugely encouraging”.

He continued: “Lenders remain keen to lend and several have cut rates in recent weeks so mortgage rates are likely to remain low for a while yet, further supporting the market.”

Kevin Roberts, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, noted that this is a competitive time for lenders.

He added: “As the market becomes more competitive, we also expect to see more lenders entering other areas of the market, such as later life lending or the self-employed and providing even more choice for borrowers.”


Remortgage slowdown inevitable

John Phillips, national operations director at Just Mortgages, noted that with house prices steady, rates still low and incentives like Help to Buy remaining in place, “now is a good time to buy.”

Phillips suggested that with purchases traditionally spiking over the summer, purchase approvals may rise further in the coming months.

“We can see that remortgage levels are down, but I don’t think that is particularly significant. There had been such a huge flurry of remortgage business over the past 18 months that it couldn’t stay at those levels forever so it was almost inevitable that it would start to slow down,” he concluded.


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