| 5°C Belfast

UK house purchase mortgage approvals slumps to a new low

The number of mortgages approved for house purchase slumped to a new record low during November, new figures have revealed.

Just 27,000 loans were arranged for people buying a new property across the UK during the month, only a third of the number arranged in November 2007, according to the Bank of England.

The figure was also 13% lower than in October, ending a four-month period during which mortgage approvals for house purchase had remained broadly stable at around 32,000.

The number of new loans approved was below economists' expectations, and suggested that November's surprise 1.5% reduction in interest rates had failed to have an immediate impact on housing market activity.

There was also a sharp fall in the number of new mortgages in the pipeline for people remortgaging, with these diving from 72,000 in October to just 42,000 in November, while there was also a slight fall in approvals for equity release and buy-to-let loans.

The value of total mortgage advances continued its downward trend, falling for the 10th month in a row to £15.49 billion, the lowest level since December 2001.

But net lending, which strips out redemptions and repayments, recovered slightly to £740 million, compared with just £477 million in October.

Belfast Telegraph