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Mortgage lending volumes down but approvals tick up

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Written by: Owain Thomas
29/11/2019
More homeowners are remortgaging to raise funds for home improvements instead of moving
Mortgage lending volumes down but approvals tick up

Gross mortgage lending dipped to £21.8bn in October, according to Bank of England data.

The figure was down three per cent from September’s £22.5bn and down almost four per cent on October last year, but remained within touching distance of the six month average of £22bn.

This continued the market’s general slow but stable nature over the last three years.

Perhaps more encouraging was that mortgage approvals increased marginally on the previous month – from 129,760 in September to 130,319 in October.

And the figure was also up on October 2018 which saw 129,711 approvals made.

However, this was driven by remortgages which rose by more than three per cent while approvals for purchases dipped almost two per cent.

In September there were 65,803 approvals for purchases but this slipped to just 64,602 in October, well below the previous six month average of 66,087.

In contrast, remortgage approvals rose from 49,618 to 51,272, far exceeding the previous six month average of 48,423.

Remortgaging the story

Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco, noted that remortgage activity had been especially strong.
“Approvals for house purchase were down slightly but October was a particularly fraught month so that’s no surprise,” he said.

“Transaction levels are simmering by historical standards, but given the environment we find ourselves in they are holding up well.

“The market is likely to remain in its current holding pattern until the New Year when we have more clarity on Brexit.”

This was echoed by Masthaven director of intermediaries Rob Barnard who noted the real story could be seen in the remortgage numbers which have continued to climb over the year.

“More and more homeowners are staying put to release funds in order to improve or even extend their properties and save themselves potential selling and moving costs in the long run,” he said.

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