Mortgage approval total edges up

A total of 34,905 mortgages were approved in April, up slightly on March’s 33,360, figures from the British Bankers’ Association reveal.
The average value of house purchase approvals was £146,100 – 11.8% higher than a year ago.

Banks also experienced a 4.5% annual growth in net mortgage lending, substantially exceeding annual growth of just 1% across the whole market in February, as banks continue to provide the majority of mortgage finance.

Gross mortgage lending of £8.7bn in March was less than the average of the previous six months of £9.2bn and 0.4% lower than in March last year.

Brian Murphy, head of lending at the Mortgage Advice Bureau, says: “The picture in April and May is likely to be a different one, with mortgage approvals expected to level off at a time when housing market activity is traditionally at its busiest.

“The problem is, the recent rise in unemployment levels and the imminent general election has inevitably cast doubt in the minds of those looking to buy.”