There were 34,905 approved mortgages in March, an increase of 5% according to the British Bankers Association (BBA).
These numbers are fairly low when compared to the latter half of 2009 when people were taking advantage of the stamp duty holiday. However, taking into account all the stamp duty holiday incentivised purchasers the number of approved mortgages for house purchases was still up by 20% in March 2010 compared to March 2009.
The BBA have also said that banks are encouraging people to use any additional funds they may have available to clear their debts.
David Dooks the BBA’s Statistics Director said: ‘Homeowners are reducing mortgage debt by making, or maintaining, higher repayments using the extra cash generated by lower mortgage rates.’
‘People are also holding more cash in their everyday accounts, rather than building up savings accounts and overall unsecured borrowing levels are standing still.’
Moneyfacts the financial information service said that the average interest rate was 4.63%, based on a £150,000 repayment mortgage.
Michelle Slade from Moneyfacts said: ‘The open for business sign is back in the window as lenders improve the availability of mortgages.’
‘Lenders are becoming more active in the mortgage market, which is welcome news for borrowers as increased competition is one of the overriding factors in driving rates downwards.’
Craig Gedey Marketing Manager for Debt Advisory Line www.debtadvisoryline.co.uk said: ‘It’s great to see positive figures in the UK mortgage market, however there will still be issues for first time buyers, like the minimum 25% deposit many lenders require to offer the most competitive interest rates.’
‘Making mortgages more available is one half of the coin and making sure competitive interest rates are in place to ensure these mortgages are affordable is the other half.’
‘Anyone who is struggling to keep up with repayments on their mortgage could look into remortgaging as an option and our sister company Financial Advisory Line www.financialadvisoryline.co.uk offers remortgage advice from fully qualified mortgage advisers.’
‘Of course anyone struggling with unsecured debts may be eligible to start a debt management plan with Debt Advisory Line.’
‘Here at the Debt Advisory Line, we are fully committed to our customer’s financial well being. We are members of the Debt Resolution Forum and DEMSA and abide by the Office of Fair Trading Guidelines when giving advice to customers about debt.’