There was a fall in the number of mortgages and remortgages approved by banks between January and February 2019, recent figures released by UK Finance show.
The figures, which have been seasonally adjusted, show that the number of house purchase approvals decreased from 39,910 in January to 39,083 in February (a reduction of 827), while the number of remortgages approved fell from 27,030 to 26,890 over the same period (a drop of 140). In addition to this, other mortgages for other forms of secured lending also decreased, down from 9,260 to 8,578 (a fall of 1,648).
Research carried out by Moneyfacts.co.uk found that this reduction comes despite an increase in mortgage products on offer. The data shows that the number of two-year fixed rate mortgage products available on the market increased from 1,512 to 1,578 between January and February, offering mortgage borrowers a greater level of choice.
While the decrease in mortgage approvals is small, it comes at a time of increasing competition among providers, with many not just increasing the products available but also reducing rates to try and attract customers. This means that it is not low competition and high rates that have resulted in the drop in mortgage approvals, but instead suggests other influences are making potential buyers wary about taking out new mortgages deals, something that may be unsurprising given the current level of economic uncertainty.
It should also be noted that the latest figures are not indicative of an ongoing trend, as house purchase approvals remain higher than they were in December 2018 (when there were 38,905 approvals compared to 39,083 in February), and remortgage approvals are also slightly higher (26,758 compared to 26,890). In addition to this, there's good news for those looking to buy or remortgage, as there are currently some excellent mortgage deals available on the market – and rates have been falling recently, too.
As we reported earlier this month, mortgage rates have halved since the financial crisis, so those looking to take the plunge will be able to benefit from low monthly repayments. This could be even more beneficial for those currently on their lender's standard variable rate (SVR) – we may be in times of uncertainty, but paying more to be on an SVR could take its toll on your finances, so now's the time to compare the best mortgage and remortgage rates to see if you can find a better deal.
Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.