Hopes have been raised that a recovery in the housing market is under way after figures from the Bank of England revealed the number of mortgages approved for house purchase rose to 37,937 in February, 19% higher than in January. It is the highest figure recorded since May last year and also more than ten thousand higher than the record low of 27,330 seen in November. Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said the figures were further evidence that the pick-up in home buyer interest was feeding through into actual activity in the housing market. "This is welcome news, but we will need to see a few more months' figures before we can say with any confidence that market conditions are showing a fundamental improvement," added Paul Samter, economist at the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
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