British consumers ramped up repayment of their debts and mortgage approvals slumped to the lowest on record in April as the country spent the month in the coronavirus lockdown, Bank of England (BoE) data showed on Tuesday.
Consumer credit figures showed a net repayment of £7.39 billion (€8.29 billion), the biggest such repayment on record, as households worked off their credit card debts.
The BoE data showed consumer credit lending fell by 0.4 per cent in the 12 months to April, the biggest drop since August 2012. At the same time, the number of mortgage approvals fell to the lowest since comparable records began in October 1997 – 15,848, down from 56,136 in March which was already sharply lower than in previous months.
Earlier on Tuesday, mortgage lender Nationwide said Britain’s house prices fell by the most in more than 11 years in May.
In annual terms, prices rose by 1.8 per cent, slowing from 3.7 per cent in April. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a monthly fall of 1.0 per cent and an annual rise of 2.8 per cent. Britain’s government relaxed some of its restrictions on the housing market in England in May.
Property website Rightmove said on Saturday it had its busiest day on record last week, suggesting activity was picking up. But Nationwide said the medium-term outlook remained highly uncertain.– Reuters