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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

"Sellers take a reality check" says agent after lending rises

Mainstream bank lending for house purchases grew by 3.6 per cent in October compared to the same month last year.

However the figures, from umbrella mortgage body UK Finance, also reveals that remortgaging approvals fell by a huge 13.5 per cent, meaning total mortgage approvals actually fell 4.1 per cent.

The number of mortgage approvals for house purchase climbed to 45,289 from 37,348 in September. The figure was the highest since June, when approvals were 47,175. A year ago, approvals were 43,706.

Jeremy Leaf, who runs his own London estate agency and is a former RICS residential chairman, says the figure reflects the fact that shrewd buyers are negotiating hard.

"This may be a little better than many expected but confirms what we have seen on the ground - that some sellers are taking a reality check and recognising that the difference between sale price and purchase price is much more important than the headline figure," he says.

"First-time buyers too are taking advantage of low mortgage rates, ample loan products and a slight easing of the affordability squeeze” he continues.

Meanwhile online agency Yopa says: “The housing market is now beginning its annual Christmas slowdown in activity, but these figures suggest that we will have a strong start to next year as we move into the peak spring house buying season.”

Paul Smith, chief executive of Haart, adds that “Brexit deal or no deal, demand for housing is clearly still driving lending forward. Today’s figures also chime with our own branch data which shows continued growth in activity.”

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