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Seasonal slip in homebuyers

Seasonal slip in homebuyers

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 01/02/2010
First Published: 01/02/2010

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Homebuyers took their traditional Christmas break in December, according to the latest mortgage approval figures from the Bank of England.

Its research found the number of mortgages approved for house purchase dropped for the first time in over a year in December.

Banks rubberstamped 59,023 loans to homebuyers last month, compared with 60,045 in November.

In each of the previous 12 months, there had been a month on month rise, although the festive break means activity in the housing market traditionally takes a breather in December.

Meanwhile, gross mortgage lending by building societies totalled £1.8 billion in December, compared to £1.6 billion in November, an increase of 15%.

Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage policy at the Building Societies Association, attributed the rise to a last minute rush of homebuyers completing transactions before the removal of the stamp duty holiday at the end of the year.

Despite the late improvement, gross lending by building societies amounted to just £18.6 billion for 2009 as a whole, half of the amount seen in 2008, as a consequence of ongoing difficulties in funding conditions.

"These figures confirm that the mortgage market ended 2009 in much better shape than it started, but it still looks like a slow haul back to meaningful levels of activity," said CML economist Paul Samter.

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