Mortgages  

High street lenders wobble after Brexit vote

High street lenders wobble after Brexit vote

Borrowing figures for June were higher than a year ago but lower than May as uncertainty about the EU referendum took hold, according to the British Bankers Association.

Gross mortgage borrowing of £12.2bn during June was 4 per cent higher than a year ago, figures from the trade body showed.

Borrowing in the first half of 2016 was £79.9bn, compared with £63.6bn in the same period of 2015, with net mortgage borrowing 3 per cent higher than a year ago.

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House purchase approval has bounced back a little from the low numbers seen in April - following the surge in the first few months of the year - but are still some 11 per cent lower than last June.

However, in the first half of 2016, approval figures were 5.5 per cent higher than in the same period of 2015.

Remortgaging approvals were 13 per cent higher this June than the same month last year.

Rebecca Harding, BBA’s chief economist, said this month’s high street banking data reflects the uncertainty felt ahead of the EU referendum.

“Mortgage lending and approvals fell back in June, but remain above the low levels seen in April following the introduction of the stamp duty surcharge,” she explained.

“Overall, business confidence was clearly fragile in anticipation of the outcome of the vote, but these results are not a verdict on the health of the economy post-Brexit. We won’t start to see that data come through until the autumn and any trends before then should not be over-interpreted”

Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, agreed it is too early to say for sure what impact Brexit has had on the market.

“Gross and net mortgage borrowing were still both higher than a year ago. Approval numbers also picked up from April, where numbers were lower following a surge in the first quarter as landlords brought forward buying decisions,” he stated.

“Remortgaging is on the rise, a trend we expect to see continue over coming months. This is not so much because borrowers fear a rate rise - on the contrary it looks increasingly as though the next move in base rate will be downwards - but because fixed rates in particular are just so cheap.”

peter.walker@ft.com