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Mortgage approvals hit 17-month high

Mortgage approvals rose for the sixth consecutive month in February and are at the highest level since September 2022, Bank of England data shows.

The latest figures from the Bank of England shows banks approved 60,383 mortgages for house purchase during February 2024, up 7.7% on a monthly basis and a 39.8% annual increase.

Commenting on the data, Colby Short, chief executive of GetAgent, 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.”

Simon Gammon, managing partner at Knight Frank Finance, added: "The recovery in housing market activity is taking hold despite an uncertain start to the year for mortgage rates.

"Hotter-than-expected inflation data in January and February prompted a few lenders to notch up mortgage rates, which knocked sentiment, but not enough to kill the market's momentum.

"More dovish tones from the Bank of England at the March meeting will underpin more increases in lending during the months ahead, and I wouldn't be surprised to see approvals for house purchase moving above the 70,000 mark we were seeing during 2019 a little later this year. The newspapers are full of commentary as to when the first cut to the base rate will arrive and how far it is likely to fall, which is giving borrowers the confidence to act."


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