UK August Mortgage Approvals Highest since 2008 - BOE
By Jason Douglas and Ilona Billington
LONDON--The number of mortgage approvals in the U.K. rose in August to its highest monthly total in more than five
years, Bank of England data showed Monday, in the latest sign a recovery in Britain's housing market is gathering pace.
The figures follow Prime Minister David Cameron's announcement Sunday that the launch of a controversial government-
backed mortgage-guarantee program will be brought forward to October. The launch was initially planned for January.
The government says the program will help would-be homeowners struggling to afford to buy a property. Critics say the
Help-to-Buy initiative risks inflating a bubble in house prices.
The central bank said the number of new mortgage approvals in the U.K. rose to 62,226 in August from 60,914 a month
earlier. The total in August is the highest since February 2008 and is higher than the 61,700 approvals economists had
The average annual interest rate on a new home loan fell to 3.15% in August, a new low since records began in 2004.
Total lending to consumers, net of repayments, increased by 1.6 billion pounds ($2.58 billion) in August, as both
secured and unsecured borrowing rose.
Lending to businesses continued to shrink, however, underscoring worries about the prospects for fresh investment and
new hiring. Net lending to nonfinancial firms shrank by GBP3.8 billion in August, the BOE said.
Write to Jason Douglas at firstname.lastname@example.org and Ilona Billington at email@example.com
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