Gross mortgage lending and the number of mortgage approvals falls in March

Written by Oliver Wade

Gross mortgage lending in March is estimated to have been £20.5bn, 2.3% lower than the figure reported in March 2017, according to UK Finance’s update on lending for March 2018.

The number of total mortgage approvals also fell significantly by 15%, while house purchase approvals declined by almost 21% compared to a year earlier.

Despite the downward trend experienced in March, UK Finance personal finance managing director Eric Leenders said that there was a “rising trend in mortgage approvals” during the first three months of 2018, but also noted that the figures were still lower than those announced for the same period in 2017.

Card spending was saw a similar fate in March 2017, declining by 1.2% compared to last year, and repayments outstripped new lending in the first quarter of 2018. However, outstanding levels of credit card borrowing have grown by 5.8% over the year.

Growth in personal deposits has also slowed, increasing by 1.8% compared to the previous six-month average of 2%.

Leenders further commented: “March figures show that consumer borrowing was fairly modest, with card spending down and repayments outstripping lending in the first quarter of 2018. Growth in personal deposits also increased over the year, alongside a rise in overdraft repayments.”

Although personal finance was down in March 2018, UK business borrowing has grown slightly at 0.2% over the past 12 months, with the manufacturing industry experiencing the highest level of growth at 8.8%, while the construction sector contracted by 6.7% in the year.

UK finance also revealed that UK business deposits grew by 3.4% over the past year, which is 3% lower than the previous six-month average of 6.4%.

UK Finance managing director of commercial finance Stephen Pegge said: “Overall lending to businesses of all sizes is marginally up year on year. However, borrowing in the construction sector has contracted, affected by the unusually severe weather.

“This mixed economic outlook is expected to continue in the coming months, as rising wages and output growth are counter-balanced by uncertainty over Brexit impacting on longer-term investment decisions.”

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