Mortgage approvals up again at the end of 2009

The number of mortgages being approved by Britain’s banks was up again at the end of 2009, new figures show.

According to the latest data released by the British Bankers Association (BBA), some £10.2 billion was lent for home purchases in December, up from the figure of £9.6 billion recorded in November.

However, while this represented a 12.5 per cent increase on the amount lent in the final month of 2008, the BBA figures also show that overall mortgage lending over the course of 2009 was 27 per cent lower than that of the whole of 2008 as Britons continued to struggle with high deposits and the economic downturn as a whole.

Furthermore, according to some experts, the start of the new decade is likely to see a fresh downturn in levels of mortgage lending, not least as a result of the recent reinstatement of stamp duty on properties worth over £125,000.

“What we are likely to see in January and February is an unusually large drop off in mortgage purchases, because sales which would normally have been concluded in the first two months of this year have been pushed through in December,” Brian Murphy, head of lending at mortgage brokers Mortgage Advice Bureau, told the BBC.

At the same time, Rightmove has predicted that house prices could start picking up as consumer confidence grows on the back of the news that the UK has finally emerged out of recession.

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