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The slowdown in the U.K. house market has continued after Bank of England figures showed another dip in the number of home buyer mortgages, according to media reports.
Approvals of loans for house purchase dropped for the fourth month in a row to 59,426 in October, the lowest level since June last year and a 22% decline from the recent peak of 76,574 in January, the Press Association reported.
Mortgage lending and housing demand have been slowing since the summer amid tighter mortgage market regulations, a shortage of homes on the market and recent fears over when interest rates will rise.
However, Capital Economics property expert Matthew Pointon said there were reasons to think that this dip will not last for much longer.
He said mortgage interest rates have started to fall on the back of earlier declines in wholesale rates as expectations for when the BoE will start to raise rates have moved further into the distance.
“Coupled with rising employment and the imminent return of real earnings growth, consumers are the most confident in making a major purchase since mid-2007. That suggests lending volumes are set to rise,” Pointon added.
Meanwhile, the BoE recorded a GBP 1.1 bln increase in borrowing using credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts in October, up from GBP 942 mln in September.
This was the fourth successive month of unsecured consumer borrowing of around GBP 1 bln and took the average for the year to date to GBP 881 mln.
Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said this was up from an average monthly increase of GBP 631 mln in 2013 and GBP 159 mln in 2012.
“Markedly improved consumer confidence means that people have become more prepared to borrow in recent months. It also may well be that a significant amount of people are borrowing more due to the squeeze on their purchasing power coming from extended low earnings growth,” Archer said.
Borrowing on credit cards rose to a six-month high of GBP 373 mln in October.