Growing market confidence as residential mortgage approvals increase

Despite UK Finance data for December 2019 revealing that annually gross mortgage lending is down 1.1% on 2018, here’s why industry experts are unconcerned…

Gross mortgage lending across the residential market in 2019 may be slightly down on the previous year with an annual total of £265.8 billion, but the last last two years have broadly reflected the continuation of a stronger long-term lending trend, according to UK Finance.

In fact, a total of 982,286 mortgages were approved by high street lenders in 2019 – an increase of 7.4% on the previous year. Remortgage approvals were also up 7.9%, purchase approvals increased by 8% and approvals for other secured borrowing rose 3% too.

John Goodall, CEO and co-founder of buy-to-let specialist Landbay, said: “Even without any clarification on Britain’s trading relationship with the EU, mortgage lending in the UK looks encouraging for the coming months.

“These strong approval figures reflect improving consumer confidence fuelling a further rise in mortgage lending as demand, previously contained by would-be buyers, is released.”

Highest number of mortgage approvals in four years

While the value of lending has dipped, last year December saw banks approve the highest number of mortgages in more than four years; 46,815 in total – the most since August 2015. And the value of mortgage lending rose by the most since March 2016 (pre-Brexit referendum); up by £3.7 billion.

Miles Robinson, head of mortgages at online mortgage broker Trussle, said: “It’s encouraging to see this uptick in mortgage approvals, particularly considering the scale of last year’s economic and political uncertainty and the ongoing under-supply of available, affordable properties.

He added: “Following last month’s election, people may begin to start having more confidence in the mortgage market. This, coupled with the strong foundation of mortgage lending in 2019, could provide a very solid base for the housing market over the next year.”

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