Hopes that a recovery in the housing market is under way have been fuelled further after figures from the Bank of England revealed the number of loans approved for house purchases rose to 37,937 in February. The surprise news represents a rise of almost 6,000 compared to January when there were 32,000 approvals. 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. Recent surveys have suggested that, against a backdrop of low interest rates and falling house prices, buyer enthusiasm is on the rise. Simon Rubinsohn, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' chief economist, said it was further evidence that the pick-up in buyer interest in the housing market is feeding through into actual activity. "This reflects in no small measure the improvement in affordability in the wake of the 20% drop in house prices and the sharp reduction in borrowing costs," he added. Paul Samter, chief economist at the Council of Mortgage Lenders has urged for a degree of caution, however, noting that only month-on-month increases would truly denote marked improvement and recovery in the housing market.
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