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Mortgage approvals on the rise, say High Street banks

After a steady start to the year, the number of mortgages approved is now “trending upwards”, reveal to the UK’s High Street banks.

Figures released by the British Bankers Association (BBA) show that 38,751 house purchase mortgages were offered in March, up from 37,453 in February 2015.

That is the highest number for the past 6 months, but 14% lower than this time last year.

The BBA said that a reason for the improving picture was the low interest rates for mortgage offered by the banks.

Lenders have continued to cut interest rates, as the prospect of the Bank of England raising interest rates looks unlilely.

Some five-year fixed rates are available for less than 2% a year.

“The third successive modest rise in mortgage approvals ties in with our belief that housing market activity is now gradually turning around,” said Howard Archer, chief European and UK economist with IHS Global Insight.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) – which also represents UK building societies – reported a similar analysis of gradually improving borrowing.

The BBA said more people were now borrowing money from banks in the form of overdrafts and loans.

Overall Consumer borrowing rose by £400m in March 2015, compared to February 2015.

The BBA said this reflected improved consumer confidence in the UK economy.

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