BSA sees 31% dip in approvals

Continued uncertainty in the housing market saw net approvals by societies in August remain low at £2.8bn, a 31% decline compared to August 2007, show figures from the Building Societies Association.

Andrew Gall, business economist at the BSA, says: “Activity in the housing market remains depressed, so, although the figures for both net approvals and net lending are better than for last month, they still remain low.

“With the Land Registry data showing a 4.6% annual drop in property prices, and with BSA’s own Property Tracker survey showing that more than half of people consider the prospect of future falls in house prices a barrier to house purchase, it is hardly surprising that demand for mortgages is so low.”

Society gross lending amounted to £2,770m in August 2008 compared to £4,277m in August 2007. While net lending by societies in August 2008 was -£38m compared to £771m in August 2007.

Approvals in August 2008 were £2,781m compared to £4,054m in August 2007.