The latest official data from the Bank of England (BoE) reveals that mortgage approvals held steady in April, as homebuyers rushed to secure attractive deals ahead of an anticipated interest rate increase.
Year-on-year, mortgage approvals were up by 11 per cent, while gross mortgage lending rose to £20.4 billion, the data reveals.
On a month-by-month basis, the value of home purchases rose from £11.4 billion in March to £11.5 billion, but approvals fell marginally from 62,802 to 62,455.
Commentators have said that rumours that the BoE would move to increase interest rates at its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in May inspired buyers to rush out to secure lending while deals were still attractively priced.
In the end, the Bank decided to hold its base rate at the current 0.5 per cent – but indicated that future increases could be on the horizon. The impact this will have on the mortgage market remains yet to be seen.
Danny Belton, of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Although largely unchanged, mortgage approvals remain steady, with consumers looking to benefit from near all-time low rates and competitive products.
“For anyone, however, unsure of how they can take advantage of our current low interest rate environment, speaking with a mortgage broker is a good place to start.”