Mortgage approvals declined over the last month as the tapering stamp duty holiday deterred home purchases, according to data from the Bank of England.
There were 75,152 mortgage approvals in July, the first full month the stamp duty holiday tapered, down from 80,272 in the previous month.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: “These figures are always a good indicator of future direction of travel for the housing market. They show ‘activity' on the turn as the beginning of tapering of the stamp duty concession put the brakes on but show that there is still plenty of life remaining as buyers and sellers aren’t finished yet.
“Approvals are running above those prevailing before the beginning of the pandemic, which we are seeing at the sharp end.”
And property analyst and PropTech entrepreneur Anthony Codling adds: “It seems there was no 'cliff edge' to the first stamp duty holiday reduction, and if mortgage approvals were to continue to drift slowly back to their pre-pandemic levels most would view that as a good result.
“The stamp duty holiday still has one month left to run, and will end during the important autumn selling season, but so far the giant cliff for the housing market looks like one small step for homebuyers…"
Meanwhile Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, comments: “With many buyers motivated by the stamp duty holiday to complete before the end of June, it is no surprise that July was quieter. While there are still stamp duty savings to be had, these have considerably reduced. Throw in the summer holidays and the prospect of sunshine abroad once again and it is not surprising that the market saw a bit of a slowdown.
“That said, mortgages remain cheap and many buyers still want to purchase a bigger place so we expect demand to continue into the autumn. Several lenders are now offering sub-1 per cent deals as they compete for business, while higher loan-to-value options are also cheaper and some restrictions have eased, providing a further boost.”