mortgage housesGross mortgage lending reached a peak in October not seen since the summer of 2008, recent figures released have revealed. Mortgage approvals were also up by a little over 600 in October. The market saw 69,012 approvals during September, but this rose to 69,630 during October. This ties in with the previous estimate of 70,000 that was made by analysts for October.

October’s figure is the highest one the market has experienced since the previous peak of 70,748 was seen in August this year. Remortgaging approvals dropped during the same period though, with a total of 39,629 seen during October. The figure just one month earlier fell just shy of 41,000.

Highest mortgage lending in seven years

The statistics prove that mortgage lending has reached its highest point for seven years. A total of £3.6 billion was loaned by banks and building societies. This is the highest total seen since April 2008, according to the Bank of England. Many forecasts had estimated the rise to hit the £3.45 billion mark. Clearly, the reality was somewhat above this, taking some people by surprise as a result.

The housing market still seems to be buoyant, then, although there remains a degree of concern over the sustainability of the market. Some experts are concerned that people may struggle to repay their mortgages if and when the interest rates start to go up.

The overall picture is good

This time last year the picture was somewhat different with regard to mortgage lending. The market slowed slightly as 2014 came to a close. However 2015 has been much stronger in terms of mortgage approvals and the amount people are borrowing to fund their new purchase. The British Bankers’ Association confirmed the average amount borrowed for new purchases was £175,600. The amount borrowed by people looking to remortgage came in at £2,800 less than this on average.

The BBA also confirmed that on the whole, gross borrowing for mortgages is 26% higher than it was at this stage in 2014. That is a significant difference over the space of just 12 months.

The effect of the Budget on the buy-to-let market

The Budget this week also saw an announcement that stamp duty will be increased on many buy-to-let purchases in the near future. From April 2016, many purchases above a certain amount will attract far higher stamp duty prices to pay than is currently the case.

This has led some people to speculate the market might see an influx of borrowers and buyers in this part of the marketplace between now and then. If this is the case, we could also expect to see a dip in approvals after that date. It remains to be seen whether this is the case.

In any event, there is every chance the mortgage approvals market may remain buoyant for the foreseeable future. This might at least be the case with those who intend to buy their own homes, rather than renting them out on a buy-to-let basis.

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