UK lenders approve most mortgages since September 2022

LONDON (Reuters) – British lenders approved the highest number of mortgages in February since September 2022, when new lending slumped due to bond market turmoil caused by Liz Truss’ premiership, Bank of England data showed on Tuesday.

Lenders approved 60,383 mortgages for house purchase in February, up from an upwardly revised 56,087 the month before and above all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists, which had pointed to a more modest rise to 56,500.

Net approvals for remortgaging with a new lender also rose sharply to 37,700 from 30,900.

Britain’s housing market has been slowly recovering as the prospect of a cut in BoE interest rates from their current 16-year high of 5.25% moves nearer.

Investors see a first cut in June or August, with rates dropping to around 4.5% by the end of 2024.

Mortgage lender Nationwide reported earlier on Tuesday that house prices in March rose at their fastest annual rate since December 2022.

Tuesday’s BoE data showed that consumer credit grew at an annual rate of 8.7% in February, down from 9.0% in January.

Net unsecured lending rose by 1.378 billion pounds ($1.73 billion) on the month in cash terms, below the 1.6 billion pounds expected in a Reuters poll.

($1 = 0.7963 pounds)

(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by William Schomberg)

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