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Mortgage approval figures increase despite fewer properties for sale

A report has revealed that there has been an increase in the number of mortgage approvals in the UK, despite there being fewer properties for sale on the housing market.

The Halifax has found that the overall property market currently offers prospective homebuyers less choice than at any point over the last 10 years. The average stock of houses for sale per surveyor – a key indicator in market availability – has been below 50 since June 2015, but September 2018 saw it dip to its lowest point in recent records. 

An increase in mortgage approvals and sales

Industry-wide figures from the Bank of England has found that there has been a small rise in the number of mortgage approvals in recent months. This has led to an increased figure of completed house sales in August to a total of 66,440, up from 65,156 in July 2018.

August’s figure is very close to the average monthly mortgage approval rate of the last five years, which stands at 66,550. But encouragingly, August 2018’s number is 2,000 above the monthly average for the previous 12-month period of 64,638.

According to HMRC figures, the total number of home sales rose between July and August to 99,120, remaining close to the monthly average sales figure over the last 12 months. In the three months to August, house sales also increased by 1.2 per cent compared to the previous three months.

Prices steadily rising

A more competitive marketplace has led to a steady increase in house prices, with the average home now costing £225,995. This valuation is a 2.5 per cent increase year-on-year and is 1.8 per cent higher when compared to the previous quarter – the third quarter in a row that there has been an increase.

Russell Galley, managing director of the Halifax, commented that low mortgage rates and an increase in those in employment has that demand for homes remained steady.