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Mortgage Approvals Continue to Grow Despite Lower Sales

First-time and existing buyers in Yorkshire benefitting the most from favourable mortgage market conditions

The number of new mortgage approvals increased by 2.9% between February and March and 4% compared with March 2018

Low rates continue to attract existing homeowners and first-time buyers to take out a mortgage, the latest Mortgage Monitor by e.surv reveals.

In total, 66,174 mortgages were approved in March, an increase of 2.9% since February at some 4% more than the same period in 2018.

This, the report notes, is despite the subdued levels of purchases and sales in the UK’s housing market, with low mortgage rates creating “favourable conditions” for homeowners looking for a new loan.

First-time buyer activity has likewise grown, with the data from the chartered surveyors also revealing that the proportion of approvals given to small deposit borrowers declined slightly since the last survey, from 26.3% to 26%.

A similar drop occurred in the number of large deposit borrowers, which fell from 26.9% in February to 26.2%. By comparison, mid-market borrowers increased their overall share of the market to 47.8%, up from 46.8%.

Additionally, the report revealed that property buyers both new and existing with small deposits in Yorkshire were benefitting the most from the current low rate conditions, followed closely by the North West and the Midlands.

Meanwhile, small deposit borrowers in London continued to have a harder time making a purchase, with this cohort representing just 18.9% of all mortgage approvals in the capital in April.

Commenting on the figures, e.surv’s Director Richard Sexton said: “With almost half of all mortgages going to mid- market borrowers, it is clear that many current homeowners are still coming to market for new loans.

“This may be because they are keen to lock into loans at the current historically low rates in the hope that it will save them money in the long term.”

House prices grew by 5.2% in the 12 months to May, according to the latest Halifax index.

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