Market News

UK Mortgage Approvals, Consumer Credit Rise More Than Forecast - BLOOMBERG

JANUARY 04, 2024

(Bloomberg) -- The number of mortgages given the green light by British lenders rose more than expected in November, as cooling borrowing costs brought buyers back into the housing market.

Banks and building societies approved 50,067 home loans, up from 47,888 the previous month and the highest since June, according to data from the Bank of England. Economists had expected an increase to 48,800. 

Meanwhile, unsecured credit jumped by £2 billion ($2.5 billion), the highest figure in almost seven years in a sign of strengthening consumer confidence as wages grow faster than inflation. Economists had expected a figure of just £1.4 billion.

An easing in mortgage rates since their 15-year peak last summer has helped to steady the property market, limiting the fall in house prices. Lenders including Nationwide Building Society and HSBC expect prices to stabilize in 2024 even as high borrowing costs weigh on transactions.

Lenders rushed to cut their interest rates further this week, including Halifax. Signs of brewing price war by banks emerged as markets boost bets on a rate cut from the BOE as soon as May.

The central bank has kept rates on hold for three consecutive meetings with softer inflation figures prompting investors to fully price in five quarter-point cuts by the end of 2024 with a strong possibility of a sixth.   


--With assistance from Harumi Ichikura.


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