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Banks' mortgage approvals rebound from low in UK

Staff Writer |
Mortgage approvals from high street banks rebounded slightly in September after hitting a 19-month low in August.

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The British Bankers' Association (BBA) revealed mortgage approval numbers in September of 38,252, which was up from 37,241 in August but down 14.9% from the same month a year ago, while the first nine months of 2016 has seen 3% fewer approved than last year.

Gross mortgage borrowing of £12bn in the month was 2% lower than in September 2015, while net mortgage borrowing was 2.6% higher than a year ago.

The BBA also said consumer credit was growing at its fastest rate since December 2006, with annual growth of over 6% despite only moderate retail sales growth.

This was being driven by strong demand for personal loans and credit cards, said chief economist Rebecca Harding. "Consumers are increasingly using short-term borrowing to take advantage of record low interest rates. This trend has accelerated since the Bank of England cut rates in August."

Business borrowing fell slightly for a second month running and at a slightly increased rate, which the Harding said was likely to be partly down to uncertainty following the EU referendum, with the longer time lag behind corporate investment meaning the full effect could take longer to filter through.

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