Published On: Tue, Apr 2nd, 2024
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Mortgage approvals increase by thousands with remortgage agreements also rising | Personal Finance | Finance

The number of mortgage approvals made to home buyers increased from 56,100 in January to 60,400 in February, according to Bank of England figures.

Approvals for remortgaging also increased, from 30,900 to 37,700 during this period, according to the Money and Credit report.

The annual growth rate for consumer credit slowed from 9.0 percent to 8.7 percent.

However, the data released today comes with a backdrop of a “relatively subdued” housing market in terms of house price increases. According to Nationwide Building Society’s latest House Price Index, property valuations dropped by in March.

Jonathan Samuels, CEO of Octane Capital, commented: “So far this year, the number of mortgages being approved has accelerated considerably and we’re now seeing this initial indicator of market health return to levels not seen since 2022, before the market started to cool as a result of higher mortgage rates.

“This is despite the fact that we’re yet to see an interest rate cut or any kind of buyer initiative introduced by the government, although there’s no doubt buyer confidence has been boosted by the prospect of lower interest rates on the horizon.”

Jason Ferrando, founder and CEO of easyMoney, said: “It was only a matter of time before the market started to find its feet and it would appear that the nation’s buyers have now adjusted to the new normal where the higher cost of borrowing is concerned.

“All signs now point to a far stronger year for the UK property market and while higher mortgage rates remain an obstacle, it’s a matter of when, not if, they start to subside.”

Ruth Beeton, co-founder of Home Sale Pack, pointed out that, while buyer confidence is building in anticipation of lower mortgage costs in 2024, higher demand will put further strain on a transactional process “that simply isn’t fit for purpose in this day and age.”

She continued: “So although the nation’s sellers may find it easier to secure a buyer and for a higher price, they can expect the process itself to drag out for far longer. That’s if the sale doesn’t collapse before it reaches the finish line.”

Colby Short, co-founder and CEO of, said: “The spring surge in market activity has clearly begun early this year, with mortgage approvals climbing consistently, as the nation’s buyers look to hit the ground running following a period of inactivity caused by higher mortgage rates over the last year.

“This growing market momentum is only likely to build further as we enter what is traditionally the busiest time of year for the property market and, come the summer, we can expect to see these initial green shoots of buyer activity start to blossom into an increased level of sales completions.”

Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, noted: “A small monthly fall in house prices in March is a reminder that, despite a stabilisation in mortgage rates, affordability pressures remain for mortgaged buyers.

“Encouragingly mortgage approvals for house purchases continued to pick up in February, rising above 60,000 for the first time since September 2022. However, they remain below their pre-pandemic norm of around 66,000 in a market where cash and equity-rich buyers still have a competitive buying advantage.

“And in a further sign, the market still remains relatively price sensitive, the number of properties seeing an adjustment in their asking prices was still 42 percent above a normal pre-pandemic market according to data from TwentyCI.

“That same data tells us that, where property is priced according to market conditions, it continues to sell. Even accounting for an early Easter, sales activity in March was four percent higher than in March 2023 and two percent above a normal pre-pandemic market.

“London activity levels were slightly stronger being nine percent and six percent above the same two benchmarks, reflecting a focus back towards city living.”

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