Mortgage approvals highest since 2009


housekeysIf you're looking to buy your first family home, you'll be encouraged to hear that the number of mortgage approvals has reached the highest level since December 2009.

The Bank of England said a total of 58,725 loans were approved in January, and gross mortgage lending rose to £12.8 billion.

Experts said the numbers rose because an increasing number of first-time buyers have tried to get onto the property ladder in recent months to benefit from the stamp duty amnesty, which is about to end.

Mortgage deals have also become cheaper in recent months due to the Bank of England's decision to keep the interest rate at 0.5%.

Capital Economics economist Samuel Tombs said: "Approvals were probably boosted by the stamp duty concession for first-time buyers, which is due to come to an end in March.

"What's more, banks still only seem to have passed on a small fraction of the rise in their wholesale funding costs seen as a result of the situation in the eurozone. As a result, it seems likely that the number of approvals will fall back later this year."

If you're still searching for the perfect mortgage deal then you might want to take a look at our guide on what you need to consider.