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Mortgage approvals hit five-month high in June: BoE

Figures from the Bank of England released today show that mortgage approvals from May to June increased by 1.5 per cent to 65,619, a five-month high.

Meanwhile, the annual growth rate of mortgage lending held steady at 3.2 per cent, where the figure has hovered since the end of 2016.

The number of remortages fell, however, from 51,669 in May to 47,895 – a drop of 7.3 per cent.

North London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman Jeremy Leaf says: “The… data is interesting as it depicts a delicate balance between buyers and sellers. We are certainly not seeing any fireworks on the high street but more activity away from the centre of London… which is offering better value for money.

“There is no great expectation of radical change as we move into the traditionally quieter summer period, although we do anticipate the usual upturn in September/October, particularly if the outlook for Brexit is more settled.’

The data holds ramifications for the UK interest rate. The Monetary Policy Committee meets on 2 August to decide if the rate should stay at 0.5 per cent or not. Sentiment so far has been choppy.

Masthaven managing director of mortgages Matt Andrews comments: “Although remortgaging fell in June, it still represents the bulk of this activity, largely due to the anticipated Bank of England rate rise. While timescales for this change aren’t clear, brokers should see this as an opportunity to reengage with their back-books.”

SPF Private Clients chief executive Mark Harris says: “With an interest rate rise unlikely when the MPC meets this week, this lack of pressure [the fall in remortgage transactions] to secure a fixed rate as protection against rate rises may continue.

“However, there is no room for complacency as another bout of positive economic data could strengthen the argument for a rate rise,” he adds.

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