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12th October 2015

Mortgage approvals up 20% in a year – and there’s good news for first time buyers too

Mortgage approvals for house buyers hit the highest level for 18 months in September – an indicator of strengthening confidence in the UK property market according to analysts.

A Mortgage Monitor report by chartered surveyors, e.surv revealed the number of approvals in the last 12 months alone rose by a fifth, with 72,930 house purchase mortgages approved in September this year.

The number has increased at a month-on-month pace of 2.7% – taking annual growth in the number of approvals to 19.8%.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv commented: “Mortgage lending is enjoying a late summer. After record house purchase lending through the summer months, the numbers suggest that confidence within the UK housing market is still steadily strengthening.

“With interest rate speculation dying-down and a rate hike before next year appearing increasingly unlikely, lenders appetite for growth appears unchanged.”

There was good news too for first time buyers and those with smaller deposits. Approvals for small deposit lenders (those with 15% or less of their properties’ total value) set a new post-recession record.

In the biggest increase since October 2008, small-deposit borrowers made up 18.1% of overall house purchase mortgage approvals in September. In the South East, small-deposit borrowers now represent 14% of all house purchase borrowers, up from 12% in August.

“September was particularly a positive month for anyone looking to buy a home with a smaller deposit, even when compared to more generally benign conditions,” said Richard Sexton.

“Increasing mortgage availability is widening one of the main hoops that buyers need to jump through. Especially for the current cohort of first time buyers, this is great news.”

There were 13,200 small-deposit house purchase loans approved in September – up 7.4% from the August figure of 12,288, which is a 22.5% higher number than in September 2014.

The stats were backed by the latest First Time Buyer Tracker from Your Move and Reeds Rains, which revealed that August 2015 saw 30,200 first-time buyer sales – an increase of more than a quarter (27.4%) since May 2015.

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