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UK mortgage approvals highest for more than year – BoE

Meanwhile, approvals for remortgaging (24,596) were below both the September figure and the previous six-month average.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist said: "The latest data from the Bank of England confirms that the volume of mortgage approvals edged up a little further in October. This is consistent with previously released numbers from the British Bankers’ Association.

"Significantly, net secured lending rose by a little over £3billion in the three months to October compared with just £443million in the previous three-month period. While this is still way down on the level of lending seen at the height of the boom in the market, it does suggest that that there is now a little more give from lenders.

"Arguably just as important in restraining activity at the present time is the poor flow of supply of stock on to estate agents books. Recent RICS surveys do point to a gentle pick-up in the number of new instructions but they are still at historically low levels and not keeping pace with demand.

"This imbalance helps to explain why house prices are continuing to push upwards, as highlighted by the Land Registry data released last week. The pace of price increases is likely to slacken as a little bit more supply comes onto the market but with new buyer inquiries at estate agents still rising more rapidly, it is likely that prices will continue to move higher in the new year even if the extended zero rate stamp duty allowance is removed."

David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services, said: "Approvals for mortages may have hit an all-year high, with 2% increase on the previous month – but this is another small step in the right direction rather than a giant leap for the industry. Lending levels are still a far-cry from what we saw in 2007, and it will be a long haul before we reach those heady heights. The people who need mortgage finance to the most still can’t get hold of it.

"There is a huge demand from first-time buyers are buy-to-let investors, who are clamouring to buy property while prices are affordable and rising but they are still being held back by lack of realistic loan to value mortgages at afforable rates.  Until we see banks address this, the lending market’s growth will be slow and restrained."

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