August saw a total of 52,000 mortgages being advanced, with the number of remortgaging deals also on the rise, adding to the indications that the number of house sales made possible through mortgage lending could increase over the autumn and winter. The figures showed that currently first-time buyers hoping to secure a mortgage will usually need a 20 per cent deposit.

The CML report chimes with a recent statement by the Bank of England, which said that approvals for mortgages were now at their highest monthly level for more than two years. There has not been this level of approvals since December 2009, it added.

The mortgage trade association’s director general Paul Smee commented: “Even though it is impossible to ignore the knocks to confidence emanating from the Eurozone, August lending showed welcome signs of life,” pointing out that the number of mortgages and remortgages came to a total value some 30 per cent higher than during August 2010 – partly due to the increased appeal of lower rates.

“With those moving house experiencing a record low in the proportion of their income needed to pay their mortgage interest, it is clear that the low rate environment is a benefit to those with mortgages, even against the backdrop of the gloom in the wider economy,” he went on.

However, Sussex-based estate agents Brock Taylor’s director Peter Maskell was more gloomy, telling the BBC that “talk of a recovery risks sounding rather premature. Average prices still have some way to go to regain the levels of a year ago,” he insisted.

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