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Mortgage approvals strong despite growing housing market worries

Mortgage approvals are well above last year's levels despite concerns about the health of the housing market. 

There were 66,185 mortgage applications (seasonally adjusted) approved during September - the latest data available - according to the latest mortgage monitor from chartered surveyor company e.surv.

This is down marginally by 0.6% per cent compared to August it remains well above the comparable month in 2016. This September, approval levels were 4.7 per cent  higher than 12 months ago.

However, the proportion of the market taken by small deposit borrowers has dropped month-on-month, falling from 20.3 per cent to 19.8 per cent.

Even so, this is still well ahead of the most recent low point for the market - in December 2016 - when small deposit borrowers made up just 16.1 per cent of the market.

Large deposit borrowers - defined as those with a deposit of 60 per cent or more - gained their highest share of the market for eight months in September.

Big borrowers accounted for 35 per cent of the mortgage market during the month, ahead of the 34.4 per cent recorded during August.

While the market share of larger deposit borrowers grew, first-time buyers and others with smaller deposits saw their share shrink.

Those in between the two, the mid-market customers, saw their market share remain broadly the same. These represented 45.2 per cent of the market in September compared to 45.3 per cent a month ago.

On an absolute basis, the number of small deposit buyers fell slightly this month. There were 13,105 mortgages approved to this segment of the market compared to 13,427 in August.

“Mortgage approval rates have remained impressively high over the summer months, as buyers take advantage of low mortgage rates and buy a home for the first time or move up the property ladder. It is particularly striking when compared to 12 months ago when the market was contracting following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union" says Richard Sexton, director of e.surv.


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