UK house prices: Mortgage approvals rise to their highest in 14 months


Mortgage approvals continued their inexorable rise last month, figures published this morning showed, suggesting growth in UK house prices is unlikely to abate anytime soon.

The figures, from the British Bankers’ Association, showed mortgage approvals for house purchases rose to 42,530 last month, up from 42,020 in April – and way up on a 20-month low of 36,155 in December.

Given limited housing supply, that suggests prices will continue to rise, said Howard Archer, chief European and UK economist at IHS Economics.

“We suspect housing market activity will continue to improve amid generally supportive fundamental and reduced uncertainty following the General Election,” he said.

“Meanwhile, a shortage of properties coming on to the market is currently exerting increasing upward pressure on house prices.”

Figures from Halifax published yesterday suggested the average home how costs £2,033 per square metre, up 277 per cent since 1995. Kensington and Chelsea was the most expensive place, with prices of nearly £12,000 per square metre.

However, another study, by the Office for National Statistics, suggested home ownership in the UK has fallen for the first time in a century, with 64 per cent of UK households owner-occupied in 2011, down from 69 per cent in 2001.

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