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Mortgage lending edges higher in April

UK mortgage lending increased by £0.5 billion in April which is an improvement on the £0.2 billion increase in March but well below the £1.6 billion average over the last six months. The number of mortgages approved increased to just under 50,000 against just over 49,000 in March, although again this is well below the 53,600 six monthly average. The number of people looking to remortgage their homes has stayed fairly stable with just over 26,000 remortgages agreed in April.

Even though there has been an increase in mortgage activity in the UK of late, the very fact that figures for March and April were well below the six monthly average is a concern. There is no doubt that the UK property market has stalled somewhat over the last few months due to a mixture of external events, the general election and a lack of liquidity in the mortgage market. However, there appears to be an increase in competitiveness within the UK mortgage market which should lead to more favourable rates and a reduction in the barriers to entry for first-time buyers.

Without an increase in mortgage liquidity the UK property market will struggle to push ahead in the short to medium term although events overseas are clouding the UK picture somewhat.

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