Mortgages  

Mortgage approvals down in February

Mortgage approvals down in February

Mortgage approvals fell slightly in February, according to the latest data from the Bank of England.

The total number of approvals dropped from 69,114 to 68,315 between January and February, although they remain well above the six-month running average of 66,000.

Remortgaging loans also fell from 45,859 to 43,822, the Bank's figures showed.

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According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), activity in the housing market appears to be picking up, despite the slight fall in monthly levels.

Transactions fluctuated sharply in the wake of last year’s changes to stamp duty surcharges in April and the Brexit referendum, but activity is now returning to stable levels.

Although the CEBR expects price growth to slow from 7.4 per cent in 2016 to 4.4 per cent this year due to lower levels of demand, a lack of supply should continue to buoy prices.

Competition for affordable homes is expected to prop up house prices, while the weaker pound is also likely to boost foreign demand at the top end of the market.

Jeremy Duncombe, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Monthly fluctuations are typical of our housing market and today’s slight dip in mortgage approvals is testament to this. 

“It is important that we aren’t distracted by these nuances and instead focus on the opportunity borrowers have to significantly save money on their mortgage deals in our current low interest rate environment.

“Overall, the market remains very much business as usual and this confidence is likely to continue even after Article 50 is triggered.

"Borrowers would benefit from getting in contact with a broker who would be able to provide guidance on how best to navigate the ever-changing market, and ensure they are making the most of the best opportunities and deals available to them.”

simon.allin@ft.com