Borrowing figures stutter but approvals rise: BoE

The Bank of England’s latest statistical release shows that net mortgage borrowing dipped to £3.7bn in January.

This compares to the £3.9bn seen in December 2018 and comes in below the £3.9bn average of the past six months.

The data also shows, however, that mortgage approvals for house purchases came in at 66,800 with a value of £12.6bn, up on the 64,500 valued at £12.1bn recorded in December 2018 and tracking slightly above the six-month average of 65,500 approvals, valued at £12.3bn.

Remortgaging also grew, coming in at 50,400 versus 48,500 in the month previous, valued at £9.1bn and £8.5bn respectively, nudging above the six-month average of 48,900 of a total value of £8.7bn.

North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf says: “As far as we are concerned, not much change is very good news because these figures are a useful indicator of what was happening in the months leading up to Christmas when Brexit uncertainty was at a high.”

Meanwhile, Coreco director Andrew Montlake adds: “Many prospective buyers are waiting for more certainty but ironically it is the current uncertainty that is strengthening their hands.

“They are waiting for a window of opportunity and may be disappointed when they discover that this was it.

“For first-time buyers, in particular, now is a perfect time to buy, something that is almost certainly underlined by the rise in approvals for house purchase in January.”

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