The latest data and analysis from Bank of England has revealed that falling approvals for house purchases have caused remortgages to reach a new high in September.
According to the figures, remortgaging approvals rose to 47,598 in September, the highest figure seen in 2017 so far, while mortgage approvals for house purchases slipped further to 66,232 in September, the lowest figure seen since June.
Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, commented: "After a slightly busier July and August, mortgage approvals fell slightly in September but still remain close to their recent average. The market is ticking along, with those needing to buy and sell getting on and doing it. Cheap mortgage rates have helped focus borrowers’ minds, particularly as there have been strong hints that interest rates may rise at the Bank’s meeting this Thursday.
The resilience of the market is impressive given the uncertainty flying around about the economy - despite higher-than-expected growth in the third quarter - and the ongoing Brexit negotiations. Mortgage rates have started edging up on the back of higher funding costs but lenders are still competitive and keen to lend so it is not too late for those looking for a cheap fixed rate. The remortgaging market should continue to thrive this autumn."
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, said: "Once more these official figures show, if proof were needed, that the housing market is continuing to display resilience in the face of political and economic uncertainty and not least the threat of an interest rate rise. Nevertheless, they are a little bit lower than we might have expected at this time of year but certainly showing no signs of major corrections.
There is no doubt transactions are taking longer and buyers are more cautious but most seem keen to get on with their moves, if dealing with realistic sellers."
Jonathan Sealey, CEO at Hope Capital, added: “There is so much speculation at the moment regarding a rise in the Bank of England base rate. Yet, when you consider that most of the lending in September came from deals agreed up to three months ago, it is also difficult to see how the recent change in the Bank’s sentiment, regarding a rate rise, has had any effect on these figures.
Moving into the last couple of months of the year the threat of rising rates, in a world when most people have less in their pockets, could be the impetus that borrowers need to look at their current situation to try to reduce their monthly outgoings. It could mean a strong finish to the year despite everything.”