Mortgage approvals drop by 1.25% in February

Written by Oliver Wade

February 2018 saw mortgage approvals fall by 1.25% compared to the previous month and 2.6% lower than in February 2017, according to e.surv’s latest mortgage monitor.

However, when breaking customers down into categories, first-time buyers and buyers with a low deposit actually saw an increase in the amount of approvals received, rising to 21.1% in February, a significant increase over December 2017’s 18.2%.

In February 2018, a seasonally adjusted total of 66,364 mortgages were approved, with 14,060 of them being for first-time buyers or buyers with a low deposit.

Commenting on the report, e.surv director Richard Sexton said: “This is a great time to buy if you’re a first-time buyer, but the favourable market conditions will not last forever.

“Mortgage rates are still at very low levels by historic standards, meaning that young borrowers can lock in and seal a great mortgage rate.”

Those with a large deposit (60% or more) saw a fall in the number of mortgage applications approved, decreasing to 33.1% in February 2018, compared to January’s 33.5%, even lower than the 35.9% in December 2017. Those with a large deposit accounted for 45.8% of the population of those who received a mortgage approval.

Sexton further said: “While the number of approvals fell slightly in February, this came after two stellar months for the UK mortgage market – prompted by a rise in the Bank of England base rate at the end of last year.

“Activity is expected to pick up again in future months as existing homeowners continue to feel the cost of increased mortgage payments in their pockets.

“Attention will also turn to when the next base rate rise takes place, with many experts predicting this for the late spring or early summer. However, with the recent Spring Statement announcing stamp duty relief has helped over 60,000 first-time buyers, market conditions are still very favourable right now for those looking to take their first steps.”

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