UK mortgage approvals hit 2-year high

Mortgage approvals are at their highest level in more than two years.

New figures from UK Finance, the trade body for lenders, show that mortgage lenders gave the nod to 43,342 property purchase mortgages in July, up from 42,775 in July. Those figures are also up 10 percent on the same month a year ago.

Including loans for remortgaging and other secured lending on property, mortgage approvals reached 82,761 in July, the highest number since December 2016.

Brexit trend noted

Gross mortgage lending from high street banks reached £26.1 billion in July, up 3 percent on same month in 2018.

With recent figures also suggesting a summer surge in property sales as buyers aim to complete before the Brexit date of October 31, property watchers consider the increase in mortgage approvals to be part of the same trend.

Major uncertainties

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the consultancy EY Item Club, told the Financial Times: “It is possible that mortgage activity is being lifted by some people looking to complete their house purchases before Brexit occurs, given the major uncertainties as to what will actually happen them.”

And Andrew Montlake, managing director of mortgage broker Coreco, told the same outlet that his business had seen its busiest month in July.

He added: “Borrowers have become increasingly worried that lenders could easily pull down the shutters in the event of a disorderly Brexit and also increase their rates, so they’re getting on with it.”