(LONDON) The number of mortgage approvals for UK house purchases rose an annual 15.5 per cent last month to the highest level this year, industry data showed yesterday.
The British Bankers' Association said that the number of loans approved for house purchase rose to 35,729 last month from 35,044 in March and 30,649 in April last year.
However, the number remains well below levels of more than 40,000 seen in the second half of last year.
The figures came after mortgage lender Nationwide said that it expected the housing market to be broadly stable over the next six to 12 months as an increase in property supply keeps a lid on price gains.
'The ongoing muted BBA mortgage approvals data reinforce our suspicion that house prices will struggle to make significant gains over the coming months,' said Howard Archer, an economist at IHS Global Insight.
Net mortgage lending was subdued as households continued to pay down debt. Net mortgage lending rose by just Ã‚Â£pounds;1.825 billion (S$3.7 billion) last month, the lowest since February 2001, and less than half the levels seen through most of 2008.
'Household priorities are clearly reflected in these latest data, with people paying down debt rather than building up savings,' said BBA statistics director David Dooks. -- Reuters
Source: Business Times, 27 May 2010