Remortgage approvals hit a four-year high

The remortgage market showed further signs of recovery in July after banks reported a 29 per cent year-on-year increase in approvals.

The latest figures from the British Bankers’ Association, which cover the six main banking groups, show there were 24,400 remortgage approvals in July – up from 18,986 a year earlier. July’s approvals figure was the highest in four years.

Purchase approvals rose by 11 per cent over the period, from 41,316 to 46,033, while approvals for other secured lending rose by 3.3 per cent, from 6,794 to 7,017.

In total, approvals were up 15.4 per cent annually, from 67,096 to 77,451. Gross lending rose by 11.5 per cent to £11.8bn in the same period.

BBA chief economist Richard Woolhouse says: “This was a 29 per cent surge on 12 months before and the highest figure we’ve seen for four years. 

“Savvy homeowners are snapping up competitive deals before an expected increase in interest rates.

“There were concerns that new regulations had made applying for a mortgage more onerous. But remortgaging is still a straightforward process.”

SPF Private Clients chief executive Mark Harris says: “The massive surge in remortgaging reflects growing concern among borrowers about a potential interest rate rise for the first time in several years. 

“Borrowers are locking into cheap fixed-rate mortgages before they disappear.

“While fixes aren’t quite as cheap as they have been, they are still almost ridiculously low when looked at from an historical perspective and are likely to remain competitive for the foreseeable future as lenders compete for business in the second half of the year.”

Last month, the Council of Mortgage Lenders reported a 34 per cent year-on-year rise in remortgage loans in June, pointing to an improving remortgage market. 

The CML’s figures are a month behind those of the BBA.