Net mortgage borrowing fell to £3.5bn in February, down slightly from the £3.6bn posted in January, and lower than the six-month average of £3.8bn, according to data from the Bank of England.
The data also shows that the number of approvals for house purchases also fell, from 66,700 in January to 64,300 in February, dropping in value from £12.4bn to £11.9bn.
February’s figure was also below the six-month average of 65,500 valued at £12.2bn.
Further figures detail that the number of remortgages in February came in at 47,700 at £8.4bn in value, a drop from last month’s 50,100 number valued at £9bn. This is set against a six-month average of 49,500 valued at £8.8bn.
North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf says: “It is no surprise that mortgage approvals for house purchase fell back slightly last month.
“In fact, the only surprise might be that they didn’t fall back a lot more, bearing in mind Brexit and other distractions.”
Leaf sees a positive short-term feature, however, adding that, “we have found on the ground that enquiries have increased. Buyers and sellers are fighting to come out of hibernation later than expected so there could be a reasonable upturn in mortgage approvals and sales over the next few months.”
LMS chief executive Nick Chadbourne also strikes a positive note. He says: “Over the next few months, it is likely we will see a surge in remortgage activity. April 2019 will have the highest product expiry rate for the past two years and the current low interest rates won’t last forever, so homeowners will be looking to take advantage of these deals while they last.
“We are already seeing customers choosing longer term products when remortgaging and it will be interesting to see if this trend continues throughout the year.”