Number of home mover mortgage approvals at nine-month high

The number of mortgage approvals for home movers in the UK is at the highest level for nine months in July

The number of mortgage approvals for home movers hit the highest level for nine months in July.

UK Finance data shows that the number of home mover mortgage approvals in July increased by 1.4% annually to 32,710 – the highest figure since last November.

First-time buyer approvals were up 5.8% annually to 32,640.

The value of both first-time buyer and home mover mortgages was also at the highest level so far in 2019, at £5.7bn and £7.5bn respectively.

The number of buy-to-let mortgage approvals increased by 5.5% annually to 5,800. However, the number of remortgage approvals fell, which was attributed to a drop in fixed rate deals coming to an end and more borrowers using product transfers instead.

The latest data also shows a disparity remains with HMRC figures that suggest transactions are dropping.

Chief property analyst at Yopa, Mike Scott said that these figures are still difficult to reconcile with HMRC’s numbers for the total number of home sales completing in the month, which was reported as a 12.4% decrease for July, compared with July 2018. He said the HMRC figure is provisional, and the numbers for earlier months have been revised upwards as more data has come in, so they expect that the July figure will also increase.

Scott said it also seems likely that the number of cash buyers is decreasing due to the current political and economic uncertainty, and the increase in mortgages is not completely filling the gap. If so, then there will likely be a surge in the number of homes sold if and when the Brexit uncertainty comes to an end.

He said they therefore expect that the overall number of homes sold in 2019 will be much the same as in the preceding years, despite the uncertainty.

Scott said that however, there could still be a slowdown in the last quarter of the year as the next Brexit deadline approaches, which would cause the total number for the year to be a few percent behind last year’s figure.