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July 29, 2009    

Rise in new mortgage approvals

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by Gill Montia

New figures from the Bank of England show the number of mortgages approved for house purchases increasing to 47,584 in June, up from 44,169 in May and reaching their highest level since April 2008.

However, over the six months to the end of June, new home loan approvals were down 36% on the same period of 2008.

Last month also saw the number of remortgages approved increase compared to May, to 35,011, but activity was still below the average of the last six months.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has responded to the data by describing the UK’s outstanding mortgage book as “effectively stagnating”.

The body points out that June’s net lending total of £343 million was only slightly ahead of the May figure, which was the lowest on record.

CML economist, Paul Samter, acknowledges that activity is more positive than at the start of the year but says the outlook is still “sluggish”.

He explains: “Overall, these numbers are consistent with our outlook for a gradual improvement from historic lows following the financial system turmoil last year, but for any recovery to be slow and drawn out.”

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