UK mortgage approvals declined unexpectedly last month, as the uncertainty surrounding the general election weighed on sentiment.
According to figures released by the Bank of England on Friday, approvals fell from 61,523 to 61,341 in March, short of the expected increase to 62,500.
Net mortgage lending was flat at £1.8bn, while consumer credit increased to £1.2m and the effective interest rate on new mortgages fell 0.1% to 2.68% last month.
The rate on outstanding secured loans fell 0.01% 3.14%, while loans to non-financial businesses rose £2.7bn in March from the previous month, a 0.5% decline year-on-year, and lending to small and medium-sized businesses fell 1% to £300m.
Meanwhile, a separate report showed overseas investors purchased a net £28.2bn of gilts in March, the highest figure since records began in 1982.
M4, a wider indicator of money supply, climbed 0.3% month-on-month but declined 0.6% from the corresponding period in 2014.
When excluding so-called intermediate and other financial corporations, an underlying measure of M4 rose an annualised 2.5%.
Property investment unaffected by general election: Uncertainty surrounding the outcome of next week’s general election has failed to dampen investment activity in the commercial property sector during the first quarter.
Fixed-rate mortages hit record low as Co-op Bank deal of 1.09% goes on sale: The U.K.’s cheapest-ever fixed-rate mortgage goes on sale on Friday as a price war continues to drive home loan rates to record lows. The “lowest ever” deal, priced at 1.09% for two years, raises the prospect that home loans allowing people to fix their monthly payments for less than 1% could be just days away.
Foxtons’ sales revenues fall as election looms: Foxtons, the London estate agent which this week saw an angry crowd smash the windows of one of its branches, reported a drop in sales revenues as the downturn in the capital’s luxury housing market continues.
London’s luxury housing market suffers slowdown: The number of houses sold for more than £1 million has fallen, according to official figures, suggesting the luxury London market has been hit by tax changes and pre-election jitters.
Build-to-rent call to tackle housing crisis: As much as £30 billion of investment could flow into an American-style build-to-rent sector in Britain in the next five years if the future government helps to tackle the country’s housing crisis.
Annual house price growth edged up in April, the latest House Price Index from Nationwide has revealed, increasing by 5.2% year-on-year, up from the annual growth rate of 5.1% recorded in March. This is the first time the annual rate has increased in seven months, but it's still well below the peak increase of 11.8% recorded in June 2014. Prices also increased substantially on a monthly basis, with the price of a typical UK home rising by 1% between March and April, the largest monthly increase since June last year and a sharp turnaround from the modest monthly increase of 0.1% recorded in March. "The pick-up in price growth has occurred even though the pace of activity in the housing market has remained fairly subdued in recent months," said Robert Gardner of Nationwide, with the number of mortgage approvals being 20% below the levels recorded in early 2014. "It is possible that heightened uncertainty ahead of the election is weighing on activity, though there is no compelling evidence from previous UK elections to suggest a strong impact. [Nonetheless], healthy labour market conditions and continued low mortgage rates should help underpin housing demand in the quarters ahead." The average price of a home in the UK now stands at Â£193,048, up from Â£189,454 in March, with the overall index rising from 380.9 to 384.7 in the same period.
U.K. house prices increase at fastest rate since June: U.K. house prices will only rise in a “sustained” way once housebuilding accelerates, according to Nationwide, as its latest data showed prices rose 1% in April, the fastest monthly rate since June.
Average U.K. house price rises above £190,000 for first time: House prices have risen at the fastest monthly pace in just under a year as growth picked up despite signs that uncertainty from the election has been dampening demand across the country.
Datafeed and UK data supplied by NBTrader and Digital Look.
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