Mortgage approvals for purchases and remortgaging edged upwards slightly in April, according to the British Bankers Association (BBA), as banks continue to offer a range of competitive mortgage rates. The BBA expects this to continue, with first-time buyers in particular benefiting from cheaper rates via the Funding for Lending scheme in coming months.
However, many borrowers continue to overpay on their mortgages, taking advantage of record low interest rates, and pay down debt where they can. This makes sense – why leave savings languishing in accounts paying such poor rates of interest when you can reduce your borrowing instead? There is also a reluctance to take on extra borrowing because of the uncertain economic and jobs climate.
This trend also illustrates that we remain some way off a sustained recovery in the housing market as caution continues to prevail. However, mortgage brokers and estate agents report the highest level of enquiries seen since the downturn so we expect this to feed through to improved official figures in coming months.