This is the lowest number of mortgage approvals recorded since the BoE began collecting data in 1993. It is also 90 per cent down on the 140,429 approvals completed in February, before the impact of Covid-19 hit the property market.
Remortgage approvals fell to 30,400, slightly down from 34,400 in April.
The value of purchase approvals reached £1.9bn in May while remortgage approvals amounted to £5.3bn.
Gross mortgage lending rose slightly to £14.8bn in May, compared to £14.4bn April which was marked as the lowest level of mortgage lending in seven years.
Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, said: “Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the mortgage and property markets, so it is no surprise that lending was weak in May, with approvals for house purchase falling.
“With lockdown meaning that lenders were unable to send valuers out to physically view properties, the number of mortgages approved fell considerably.
“With the backlog of valuations clearing now that surveyors can once again carry out valuations, we expect mortgage approvals to pick up.”
Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco, added: “A 90 per cent drop-off in mortgage approvals for house purchase in May [compared to February] is a jaw-dropping but thoroughly understandable number given the extraordinary events of the second quarter.
“We remain for now in an artificial environment created by the government’s furlough scheme. When this is slowly withdrawn, we will see the full impact on confidence, among borrowers and lenders alike.”
“Along with the ongoing supply deficit, there remain certain fundamental supports for the property and mortgage markets despite the uncertain environment,” he said.