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Financial News: UK Mortgage Approvals At 9-month High In December:

UK Mortgage Approvals At 9-month High In December: BBA

01/26/2017 - 05:10:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Loan approvals for house purchase was the highest in nine months in December, exceeding economists' expectations, figures from the British Bankers' Association showed Thursday.

Mortgage approvals for house purchase rose to 43,228 from 41,003 in November. A year ago, the figure was 43,104. Economists had forecast 41,000 approvals for December.

The latest approvals figure was the highest since March, whey it was 43,714.

For the whole of 2016, mortgage approvals were 4.1 percent lower than the previous year.

Remortgaging approvals jumped 30 percent year-on-year in December, marking its highest level since October 2008. Such approvals rose 15 percent in 2016.

Gross mortgage borrowing rose 3.6 percent year-on-year to GBP 12.6 billion and net mortgage borrowing grew 2.5 percent.

In the full year 2016, high street banks gross mortgage lending grew 11.6 percent to GBP 154 billion.

Business borrowing declined by GBP 2.8 billion, led by the seasonal fall in the construction and agricultural sectors. In 2016, business borrowing grew 2 percent.

Despite weak retail sales, consumer credit grew 6.6 percent in December. Growth continues to be supported in the case of personal loans by favorable interest rates, the BBA said.

"Overall, we've seen high levels of consumer and business borrowing, although there are early indications that 2017 could see softer demand for credit from business and households, as they anticipate future interest rate rises and wait for further clarity on Brexit," BBA Chief Economist Rebecca Harding said.

"Reduced demand for business borrowing may signal plans for investment are being deferred or funded through retained earnings until there is more certainty on the UK's economic prospects after Brexit."

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