After months of stifled activity caused by Brexit uncertainty, the UK property market continues to show signs of rude health. The latest example of this comes from mortgage approvals, which according to reports reached their highest levels in over two years during the month of April.
Industry body UK Finance has released figures detailing that British banks approved a total of 42,989 mortgages across the month of April. This was an increase of almost 2,500 from March’s total and marks the biggest annual increase seen in the market since March 2016. Remortgaging approvals also benefited from an increase, with a 5% rise from March to April and an 11% year-on-year rise.
The much-publicised delay of Brexit isn’t the only factor in this rise; unemployment levels across the country fell to their lowest levels since 1974 during the month of March and strong earnings growth alongside low interest rates have also played their part. Still, the delay of our exit from the European Union appears to have galvanised house buyers and encouraged them to proceed with their property purchases
“April’s marked rise in mortgage approvals suggests that housing market activity may well have got at least some temporary support from the avoidance of a disruptive Brexit at the end of March,” said Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY ITEM Club, an economic forecasting group.
It will be difficult for the market to sustain such numbers, especially as the year wears on and October draws nearer. Consumer confidence across the country isn’t as strong in comparison to France or Germany for example, according to the European Commission’s data, but given the shifting nature of the market over the last year, this certainly doesn’t represent a surprise.
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