Mortgages at 3-yr low

04-01-2008

Mortgages at 3-yr low
Mortgage approvals for homebuyers hit a three-year low in November, new Bank of England figures reveal.

In November mortgage approvals – a key measure of the future state of the housing market – rose a touch to 238,000 deals given the go-ahead, worth £25.7 billion.

However, there was a fall in the number of mortgage approvals for homebuyers to a three-year low. In total 83,000 mortgages for house purchase were approved – down 3,000 from October and down 23,000 on the six-month average.

The slowing approval levels are being seen as a sign high interest rates and stretched affordability are turning many away from the property market.

The Bank of England figures, however, do show a rise in remortgaging – but levels are again below the six month average.

Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said: "This is further evidence of a sharp downturn in activity in the housing market.

"We expect buyer interest to remain flat over the coming months as concerns persist over the outlook both for the economy and, more specifically, house prices."

In total UK citizens now owe £1,400 billion, with £1,177 billion borrowed on mortgages and £223 billion on credit cards, personal loans, and overdrafts.

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