Editor's Pick

Mortgage approvals hit 10-year high

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

It’s taken a decade but mortgage approvals are finally back to the levels seen before the recession

Mortgage lending in July 2019 was £26.1 billion, according to UK Finance, 2.9 per cent higher than the same month in 2018 and the highest since March 2016.

The standout figure of this month’s lending data though, was the 95,126 mortgages approved by the main high street banks in July. It represents the highest monthly total since July 2009 when the figure stood at 99,970.

Mortgage approvals for home purchase were 16.4 per cent higher, remortgage approvals were 19.4 per cent higher and approvals for other secured borrowing were 12.7 per cent higher than the same month a year earlier.

Tim Waterlow, development director of Responsible Lending, said: “Mortgage approvals haven’t reached these dizzying heights since the depths of the financial crash so it’s quite remarkable it’s taken us a decade to get here.

“This fact alone drives home the long-lasting impact the crash has had on the housing market and, with murmurings around Europe of more economic turmoil, lenders will be hoping this is not a peak before yet another collapse.

“At the same time, the jump in mortgage approvals for home purchase provides some hope in the face of the ceaseless decline in transaction figures, which show sales of homes are as much in the doldrums as ever.

“Lenders will be hoping this latest data could point to the housing market’s Phoenix moment and the start of a new recovery in transaction volumes.”

The £12.0 billion of credit card spending in July 2019 was 8.2 per cent higher than in July 2018 and reached its highest level on record. Repayments were also the highest level on record, showing that consumers are managing their finances effectively overall.