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House purchase approvals exceed 70,000 for fourth month in a row

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Published: 1 April 2014 | Author: Bernard Clarke

Gross lending in February amounted to £14.8 billion, according to data published yesterday by the Bank of England. Seasonally adjusted, however, gross lending totalled £17.8 billion – up from January’s total of £17.3 billion and the highest monthly total since 2008.

According to the Bank, the number of approvals for house purchase declined to 70,300 in what was the first easing in the underlying seasonally adjusted data for a year. But the total remained above 70,000 for the fourth month in a row.

In his market commentary in March, our chief economist Bob Pannell pointed out that housing market indicators had been strong in recent weeks, once seasonal factors were taken into account.

The commentary also highlighted that first-time buyers had benefitted from initiatives like the government’s Help to Buy scheme. The more recently introduced mortgage guarantee element of Help to Buy now appears to be contributing to an increase in loan-to-value levels.

Our view is that activity in the housing market reflects improving economic conditions, supported by the measures announced by the chancellor in his Budget.