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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Agents want Budget to help remedy slump in mortgage approvals

Mortgage approvals fell again in September - this means that every month of 2018 so far has seen a drop against 2017 approvals.

Figures from UK Finance show that lending was £21.5 billion for the month, some 1.2 per cent on the same period in 2017 - although major banks' mortgage approvals fell by 9.1 per cent year on year.

New house purchases are down 10.1 per cent and remortgages also down some 7.4 per cent. 

Agents have been cautious in their response.

"The overall economic backdrop remains strong, with inflation falling back, a lower chance of further interest rate rises and high levels of employment, and we do not expect to see a more significant downturn in the housing market unless the wider economy starts to falter" says Yopa chief property analyst Mike Scott.

Jeremy Leaf, north London agent and former RICS residential chair, says: "These figures reflect what we are seeing on the ground - we are still in a needs-driven, fragile market even though listings and demand are improving. Cautious buyers, as well as lack of competition especially for smaller stock, means transactions are taking much longer.”

Mark Readings of online agency House Network adds: "First-time buyers are still extremely cautious in the current economy, as Brexit negotiations are still yet to be determined, this continues to impact property purchases, particularly in the upper end of the market. The property market is largely dominated by economy sentiment and, as recent political uncertainty has decreased this confidence, the government needs to take measures in the budget to prevent any further uncertainty.”

Meanwhile Howard Archer, chief economic advisor at EY Item Club - whose reports are considered by the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee when it decides on base rate moves - is warning that Brexit uncertainties continue to blight the housing market. 

"Potential house buyers may also be concerned that they are likely to further interest rate hikes over the medium term following August’s hike” he adds.

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