News Column

Mortgages Lending figures stoke debate on house prices

September 2, 2014

Patrick Collinson

The number of homebuyers approved for a mortgage fell in July, according to the Bank of England, but the figures remain significantly above the levels in spring when a regulatory crackdown on loan affordability hit lending.

The Bank reported that mortgage approvals fell to 66,569 in July after picking up to 67,085 in June from a 10-month low of 61,914 in May. The total value of loans advanced by lenders, including remortgaging by existing borrowers, was pounds 16.6bn, up from pounds 16.4bn in June and pounds 15bn in May. The figures will add to the debate over whether Britain's property market, fizzing in London and the south-east but moribund in other areas, is slowing or picking up pace.

Richard Sexton of e.surv chartered surveyors, which carries out more mortgage valuations than any other firm, said: "After a tentative start to summer, house purchase lending has returned to robust health."

But economist Howard Archer, of IHS Global Insight, said the figures indicated that "there still appears to have been some underlying moderation in housing market activity. Significantly, July's mortgage approval level of 66,569 was still appreciably below the 74-month high of 76,295 seen in January."

On Friday, Nationwide building society reported a rebound in house price growth, with an 0.8% rise in August and an acceleration in the annual rate of increase from 10.6% to 11%.

Patrick Collinson

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Source: Guardian (UK)

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