House purchase approvals are trending upwards but mortgage lending is down compared to last year, according to the British Bankers Association.
Gross mortgage borrowing in March was £10.1bn, 6 per cent less than in the same month last year, while house purchase approvals were 14 per cent less than last year.
Remortgaging and other approvals increased in March relative to February, but were some 10 per cent and 26 per cent less respectively than a year ago.
Richard Woolhouse, chief economist at the BBA, said: “House purchase approvals are trending upwards, as consumers take advantage of competitive prices in the mortgage market, although lending activity is still down on this time last year.
“Unsecured borrowing stands at its highest annual growth rate since autumn 2010, reflecting improved consumer confidence.”
The BBA statistics came as Santander reported residential mortgage gross lending was £5bn for the first three months of 2015 compared with £5.7bn for the same period a year ago.
Bosses at the banking giant said “the small fall in mortgage balances was the result of weak application volumes in the fourth quarter of 2014.”