Mortgage approvals 'soar'

01 February 2006
Mortgage approvals are at their highest level for more than a year and a half, new figures reveal.

This comes at the same time as Nationwide reported that there was a 1.4 per cent rise in house prices in January and further fuels the belief that the UK property market is facing a recovery.

Figures released by the Bank of England today showed that there were 122,000 loans for house purchases advanced in December – 48.8 per cent increase on the previous year's figures and 6,000 higher than in November.

This is the largest number of loan approvals in a month since May 2004 – the height of the property price boom.

"Mortgage approvals are also clearly above their average for the last decade of 100,00 strengthening the argument that the housing market in 2006 will see the first rise in activity since 2002, after three consecutive years of decline," said David Stubbs, an economist with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

Rics predicts that mortgage approvals will reach 1.33 million in 2006, which would be greater than 2005 but below the 2002 level.

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