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15 month high

Finally, some good news for would-be home owners: the number of successful mortgage applications reached its highest in 15 months in August, with new landlords providing a timely boost to the market.

The amount of approved mortgages for the month was 35,226, up from 33,734 in July and 31,542 six months earlier. It’s the four consecutive monthly rise, giving way to the impression that the stasis in the property market is finally reaching an end.

BBA statistics director, David Dooks, commented: ‘The banks' new lending has ticked up in the past couple of months with higher buy-to-let demand … although the general landscape is one of households not wanting to take on more borrowing and businesses waiting for trading conditions to improve.’

The average value of a mortgage taken out to buy a property was £145,000 – 1 percent higher than the same time last year, though down on the July’s figure of 151,000.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders’ chief economist, Bob Pannell, said: ‘Much of the recent variation in monthly lending figures appears to have reflected seasonal factors, with the underlying picture being one of activity levels that continue to be subdued but broadly stable.’

Howard Archer Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, added this cautionary note, saying: ‘Although they [mortgage approvals for house purchases] were at a 15-month high in August, there is currently little evidence that housing market activity is really shifting up a gear. Indeed, at 35,226 in August, mortgage approvals were only 62% of the average monthly level of 57,059 seen since 1997.’

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