UK mortgage approvals nosedive – Bank of England data

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British lenders approved 43,328 mortgages in September, the lowest number since January, the Bank of England reported on Monday, adding to concerns about the housing market.

The figure was down from 45,400 in August, marking the third consecutive monthly decline. Statistics also show that net approvals for remortgaging dropped to 20,600 in September, the lowest level since January 1999.

Net borrowing fell to just under £1.4 billion ($1.7 billion) last month from £1.7 billion in August, according to the report.

“These dire mortgage approval figures from the Bank of England were always on the cards. The sentiment surrounding the mortgage and property market isn’t especially strong right now and these figures reflect that,” Gary Bush, a financial adviser at MortgageShop.com, told Sky News. “The remortgage numbers highlight very clearly how many people have no choice but to stay with their existing lender due to affordability reasons,” he said.

The Bank of England hiked interest rates for the 14th consecutive time on August 3, bringing the benchmark that underpins most mortgage lending rates to a 15-year high of 5.25%. The sharp increase in interest rates from an all-time low of 0.1% in November 2021 has been driving up the cost of mortgages, as the regulator sought to tackle high inflation. The central bank kept rates on hold in September and is widely expected to do so on Thursday.

A recent report by real estate firm Zoopla shows that home sales in the UK are on course to fall to the lowest level in more than a decade as a result of surging mortgage costs.

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