Belfast Telegraph

Lowest number of new home mortgages approved for nine months

Banks approved the lowest number of new home mortgages for nine months in June, adding to evidence of further cooling across the UK housing market.

Data released by trade association UK Finance showed that banks gave the greenlight to 40,200 house purchases in June, down from 40,287 in May.

That is the lowest level for new home mortgage approvals since September - when approvals slumped to 38,893.

Gross mortgage borrowing was for June was relatively in line with the previous month at £13 billion, versus £13.2 billion in May, but marked a 6% jump from levels tracked for June 2016.

Analysts are now expecting a further slowdown in the housing market, which has already shown signs of cooling.

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: "The mortgage market remained subdued in June and looks set to weaken further over the coming months."

He pointed to the Bank of England's latest credit conditions survey, which showed that most lenders plan to cut back the supply of secured credit in the coming months for the first time in three years, while potential buyer numbers also start to dwindle.

Mr Tombs said an effective cut to real wages - which are being outstripped by rising inflation - would also hit the market.

"With mortgage rates likely to stabilise over the coming months and real wages set to fall further, we expect mortgage lending to continue to cool in the second half of 2017."

The squeeze on households also hit growth in consumer credit, which grew 1.9% year-on-year, compared to 2.1% in May.

It was driven by a further contraction in personal loans and overdrafts, which dropped from minus 0.8% to minus 1.3%.

Annual credit card borrowing, however, grew by 5.5% on an annual basis.

Eric Leenders, head of personal finance at UK Finance, said: "June saw consumer borrowing from high street banks, which accounts for 45% of the overall credit market, maintain its slower pace as rising inflation put pressure on household incomes."

UK Finance, which released the data, is a new body that has taken on a number of activities previously carried out by six industry bodies including the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA), the British Bankers' Association (BBA), the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), Payments UK and the UK Cards Association.

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