May 28, 2019
LONDON, (Reuters) – British banks last month approved the greatest number of mortgages since February 2017, adding to signs that the housing market may be over the worst of its pre-Brexit slowdown, a survey showed on Tuesday.
Banks approved 42,989 mortgages in April, up from 40,564 in March and 11.5% higher than a year ago, marking the biggest annual increase since March 2016, according to seasonally-adjusted figures from industry body UK Finance.
Net mortgage lending rose by 1.795 billion pounds last month, a smaller increase than March’s 2.440 billion pound rise which was the largest in 15 months.
Britain’s housing market slowed sharply in the run-up to the original March Brexit deadline but consumer spending has remained solid, driving economic growth just as businesses have cut investment spending due to Brexit uncertainty.
UK Finance said consumer lending increased 3.8% year-on-year in April, slowing a little from March’s growth rate of 4.1% which was the highest in nine months.
Lending figures from the Bank of England, which cover a broader section of Britain’s finance industry, are due on Friday.
(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)