UK mortgage approvals decline


British mortgage approvals came in slightly better than expected in September, but still fell to the lowest since February, Bank of England figures showed today.

The Bank of England said mortgage approvals numbered 47,474 in September, down from 47,498 in August. Analysts had forecast a reading of 46,000, and the equivalent measure from the British Bankers' Association hit an 18-month low earlier in the week.

The figures suggest that both the housing market and broader credit conditions remain tough as the Bank of England considers whether to start a new bout of quantitative easing next week.

Net consumer lending rose by £262 million in September after a £21 million fall in August. Analysts had forecast that there would be a £0.03 billion decline in consum er credit lending.

However, net mortgage lending was much weaker than expected at £112 million, well below forecasts for a rise by £1 billion and August's level of £1.617 billion.

The BoE's preferred gauge of money supply, M4 excluding intermediate other financial corporations grew 2.6 per cent on an annualised basis on the quarter between July and September.

On the year, broad money supply growth was 1 per cent, the lowest since comparable records began in 1983.