Rise in mortgage approvals amid 'healthy' consumer confidence

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The number of mortgages being approved to homebuyers jumped to a seven-month high in October, as experts said consumer confidence has remained "healthy" despite the uncertain economy.

Some 67,518 loans for house purchase got the go-ahead, marking the highest figure since March, according to the Bank of England's Money and Credit report.

The report also showed that 43,513 loans for remortgaging purposes were approved in October, compared with an average of 42,115 over the previous six months.

Commentators also highlighted the "strong" non-mortgage lending figures in the Bank's report.

The Bank said consumer credit increased by £1.6 billion in October, which was broadly in line with the average over the previous six months. Consumer credit has grown by 10.5% over a 12-month period, marking the fastest increase since October 2005.

Within consumer credit, credit card lending increased by £571 million in October, marking the biggest increase since March.

Other types of consumer credit, such as personal loans and overdrafts, increased by £1 billion in October, broadly in line with the average seen over the previous six months.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said: "Consumers seem to be borrowing to take advantage of very low interest rates and confidence was healthy in October."

He said the figures show "strong unsecured (non-mortgage) lending to consumers in October".

Mr Archer continued: "The data maintain the impression that a resilient consumer is still playing a leading role in keeping the economy growing following June's Brexit vote.

"Strong consumer borrowing in October ties in with very strong retail sales over the month."


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