July Mortgage Approvals At 17 Month High

(Reuters) – THE NUMBER OF HOME PURCHASE LOANS approved by banks in July jumped 76.7% on the year to its highest since February 2008, a survey showed today; but net mortgage lending growth was its weakest in 9 years.

The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) said 38,181 mortgage applications were approved last month, compared with 35,564 in June and up from 22,248 in July last year. The average value of a loan rose to £139,700 from £136,400 in June.

Recent surveys have suggested the housing market may be stabilising after last year’s slump. But analysts noted mortgage approvals were still well below their long-run average and remained indicative of falling prices.

‘While the sector’s recovery is still ongoing, it is still some way from being “cured,”‘ said Richard McGuire, a strategist at RBC.

The BBA said net mortgage lending rose by £1.6 billion last month, its smallest increase since October 2000, and compared with a £2.2 billion rise in June — as new lending was offset by repayments on existing mortgages.

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