December dip in house purchase mortgage approvals
UK lenders sanctioned an additional £1.2 billion in mortgages in December 2009, according to Bank of England statistics.
The figure fell below the revised November total of £1.6 billion, but remained above the previous six-month average of £0.9 billion.
The annual rate of growth slipped to 0.9% (1% in November) but the three-month-on-three month measure held steady at 1.2%, when compared to a year earlier.
However, in terms of volume, December house purchase approvals were down month-on-month for the first time in over a year, to 59,023.
The total compares with 60,045 in November and a six-month average of 55,004.
The dip may relate to the end of the stamp duty holiday in January, but opinions are divided as to whether the decline signals a more difficult period ahead for the UK housing market.
December approvals for remortgaging were higher than in November at 27,276 but remained below the previous six-month average (28,427), with borrowers continuing to opt for lenders’ relatively attractive reversion rates when coming to the end of fixed-rate deals.
Finally, the number of other approvals for loans secured against dwellings stood at 26,666, lower than both the November figure and the previous six-month average (28,194).