The narrow range of the figures suggest the mortgage market continues to ‘trundle along’ quite steadily with no great shocks either way, said Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients.
He said: “This is reassuring as there is plenty of political and economic uncertainty, which is preying on people’s minds and creating a delay when it comes to making big decisions.
“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.”
Remortgaging approvals also fell in May, to 46,700.
Gross mortgage lending grew by 1.4 per cent to £63.3bn in Q1 2019, official figures from the Bank of England show.
The central bank’s policy committees examines these figures each month to understand economic trends and developments.
The lending detail
The annual growth rate for mortgage lending remained stable at 3.2 per cent, and has now been around 3 per cent since late 2016.
The growth in consumer credit continued to slow, falling to 5.6 per cent on an annual basis in May. The extra amount borrowed by consumers to buy goods and services was £0.8bn, broadly in line with the £0.9bn average since July 2018. However, borrowing for credit card lending increased to £0.3bn.
Stuart Wilson, corporate marketing director at more 2 life, said consumers continue to use credit cards and other unsecured borrowing to meet their ongoing commitments.
“Our own research supports this, revealing that one group in particular is turning towards unsecured borrowing to help boost their income, with 29 per cent of over 55s saying they’ve taken on debt to help cover their day to day expenses.”