29 Feb

Mortgage approvals 'down'

Mortgage approvals 'down'

Fewer mortgages were approved in January than the same time last year, according to figures from the Bank of England.

There were 121,000 mortgage loan approvals in January 2007, compared to 74,000 in January 2008.

However, it was a slight increase on the 72,000 approved in December 2007.

In addition, the number of remortgage approvals increased to 119,000, above the 97,000 average over six months.

Howard Archer of Global Insight suggested the figures looked good on the surface but "the Bank of England and Nationwide indicate that housing market activity and price are continuing to suffer from the combined pressures of stretched affordability and tighter lending conditions".

A spokesperson from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyers said first-time buyers were continuing to struggle and this would enourgae property prices to fall.

January's figures, despite increasing slightly, were still close to an all-time low and the number of remortgages reflected the number of homeowners coming to the end of fixed-rate deals, he added.

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