New data from the Bank of England (BoE) has revealed that mortgage approvals hit a new high in January, with a total of 67,478 loans approved – the highest figure on record since July 2017.
This is up from a total of just 61,692 loans approved in December, leading commentators to note that January’s surge in activity was the biggest increase in nearly three years.
“January’s sharp rebound in mortgage approvals suggests that there may have been a hit to activity in December as a knee-jerk reaction to the Bank of England raising interest rates in November,” said Economist Howard Archer.
“It is also possible that cutting Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for first-time buyers in November’s Budget may have provided limited support to mortgage approvals in January,” he added.
The Bank of England’s figures come shortly after separate figures from high street lender Nationwide revealed that average house prices fell by 0.3 per cent month-on-month in February.
This fall in values came after successive price rises of 0.5 per cent and 0.8 per cent in December and January, respectively – suggesting that right now might be the perfect time to buy.
Mr Archer noted that Chancellor Philip Hammond’s recent move to reduce SDLT “should provide some support” to house prices in the longer-term.
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