Mortgages  

Mortgage approvals up 4%

Mortgage approvals up 4%

The number of mortgages approved In November was up 4 per cent on last year, despite their levelling out towards the end of the year.

There were 67,109 mortgages approved during the month of November, compared with 67,011 approvals in October, according to the latest mortgage monitor from Esurv.

But a competitive remortgage and first-time buyer market meant activity was up compared with the same point a year ago, the chartered surveyors found.

Esurv reported low rates offered by mortgage lenders had continued to represent good value for those with an appetite for remortgaging and in addition, first-time buyers had continued to increase their market share.

In November 25.9 per cent of all loans went to borrowers with a small deposit.

Up from the 24.6 per cent recorded a month ago, and the 24.2 per cent recorded in September.

Esurv stated this had helped sustain activity towards the end of the year, which typically sees the number of home buyers searching for new homes tail off.

Richard Sexton, director at Esurv, said: "Conventional wisdom suggests that as we reach the end of the year, the number of people looking for houses drops away.

"But while this is likely to be the case next month, the latest approval figures suggest that cheap mortgages are attracting a consistent level of borrowers into the market, regardless of the weather.

"However, in December mortgage lenders often look to secure their annual targets, sometimes resulting in keenly-priced deals on offer at the end of the year.

"We have already seen a number of cheap first- time buyer deals launch in recent weeks, and other lenders could follow suit."

Esurv has analysed thousands of valuations carried out by it and used the trends detected to extrapolate from the Bank of England’s mortgage data to publish mortgage approval numbers for the whole of the UK.

Large deposit borrowers accounted for 28.9 per cent of the market in the month, less than the 29.6 per cent recorded a month ago.

The proportion of loans to mid-market borrowers had also dropped back month-on-month due to the rise in loans to small deposit customers.

Some 45.2 per cent of all loans went to mid-market borrowers in November, down 45.8 per cent on the numbers recorded in October.

On an absolute basis, the number of small deposit borrowers grew from 16,485 to 17,381.

Mr Sexton said: "The market has continued to shift towards those first-time buyers and others with smaller deposits, and away from those with large amounts of equity in their property.

"Almost 1,000 additional small deposit buyers achieved their dream of home ownership this month compared to October."

carmen.reichman@ft.com