The latest figures from the Bank of England illustrate the continued recovery of the housing market, although there is still some way to go.
The number of mortgages approved for house purchases rose to its highest level in three-and-a-half years in May. Some 58,242 loans were approved during the month compared with an average of 54,139 over the previous six months.
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, a Bien Media client, says:
‘The picture for the housing market is looking increasingly positive. Mortgage approvals not only continue to improve for new purchases, but also for remortgages. This is entirely what you would expect given the plethora of rock-bottom mortgage rates now available.
‘Despite some erratic movements in Swap rates in the past week, mortgage rates are likely to stay low for some time yet. We also expect criteria to continue to loosen as lenders look at ways to attract borrowers rather than simply undercutting each other on rate.
‘However, while the numbers continue to rise, they are still well below what they were at the peak of the market before the crisis. The health of the housing sector is showing a slow and steady improvement but it is by no means out of intensive care just yet.
‘Still, the indicators are good and government schemes such as Help to Buy will continue to provide much-needed assistance, particularly for struggling first-time buyers.’