Fewer mortgages were agreed in February with mortgage lenders registering the lowest number of completed applications since the Brexit vote in June 2016.
According to data from UK Finance, the body for the finance industry, 33,120 secured a mortgage to buy a home in February. That was a fall of almost 2,000 since January but also down by 10.8 percent on the same figures from February 2017.
However, remortgages continue to be a popular way to re-arrange finances with approvals for remortgages up to 25,999, an increase of more than 9 percent in both number and value on the same month a year ago.
Total mortgage lending in the UK was £19 billion in February, a big drop on the 2017 average of £21.4bn, reflecting the current uncertainty in the housing market where there are fewer properties being marketed.
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Borrowers looking to lock in
Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance, said: “There has been an increase in remortgage approvals compared to last year, as borrowers look to lock in to attractive deals amid speculation of further interest rate rises later this year.
“We are also seeing a continuing rise in credit card spending, reflecting the growing number of transactions carried out using cards, while other forms of borrowing such as overdrafts continue to fall.
“Meanwhile real wages continue to be squeezed by inflation, impacting on consumer confidence and retail sales. This pressure on household incomes should ease in the coming months, as the effect of the fall in sterling begins to fade and the strong labour market leads to a better outlook for wage growth.”
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