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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

The market’s in good shape, new mortgage figures suggest

Data from UK Finance, which represents most of the country’s lenders, shows that gross mortgage lending across the residential market in June dipped four per cent lower than a year ago at £21.9 billion.

However, specific loans for house purchases were up 2.9 per cent on a year ago.

This release follows data earlier this week from HMRC which revealed that property transactions plummeted in June by 16.5 per cent annually on a seasonally adjusted basis and by a remarkable 25.1 per cent without adjustment; there were 84,490 residential transactions on a seasonally-adjusted basis last month, down 9.6 per cent from May. 

In response to the mortgage figures Jeremy Leaf - a north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman - was relatively upbeat, saying: ‘The rather positive figures for mortgage approvals this month compared with the same time last year is in stark contrast to the transaction numbers we saw from HMRC, which once again highlights the dangers of placing too much store by one month’s results.

“The market remains relatively resilient with no signs yet of corrections one way or the other. However, our buyers and sellers are probably no different to most of the others in the country - that is, they’re getting fed up with present political turmoil. Certainly we are finding the fear of prolonged uncertainty is outweighing concerns of a no-deal Brexit.’

And Mike Scott, an analyst at online agency Yopa, adds: “A number of smaller lenders, whose data is not included in this report, have stopped new mortgage lending within the past year, so the high-street lenders now have less competition and an increase in their business was to be expected. 

“Nevertheless, this is a healthy figure, and suggests that there has been little change in housing market activity since last year, at least for homes bought with mortgages, which are the majority of the market.”

Meanwhile the chief executive of Springbok Properties, Shepherd Ncube, comments: “A very consistent picture at one end of the property spectrum and a strong level of mortgage approvals for the third consecutive month in a row suggests that the market is alive and well from a buyer point of view. Of course, while this bodes well for the months ahead, approvals are just that, and we need to see these transitions into actual sales.”

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