Net mortgage approvals for house purchases fell to 43,300 in September, the lowest level since January 2023.
And net approvals for remortgaging fell to 20,600 in September, the lowest level since January 1999.
The latest statistics from the Bank of England also reveal that net borrowing of mortgage debt by individuals decreased from £1.1bn in August to -£0.9bn in September – the lowest since April 2023.
Commenting on the latest numbers PEXA UK CEO Joe Pepper says “These figures continue to demonstrate relatively poor housing market sentiment as buyers, homeowners and lenders alike digest the impact of 14 consecutive interest rate hikes. And while it’s possible that we have seen rates peak, this weak data shows that we are far from out of the woods”.
He adds: “The good news is that we have seen a flurry of competitively repricing their fixed-rate deals in attempt to stir activity. This is likely to help stimulate remortgage activity.
“Looking ahead however, as we do see mortgage rates fall back, it’s important that the mortgage market is equipped to handle the demand it will see as consumers seek to pare back their outgoings. With consumer outcomes front of mind for the regulator too, that will involve creating a simpler, faster and more manageable remortgage and conveyancing process.”
Shawbrook managing director real estate Emma Cox comments: “As we grapple with persistent inflation and high living costs, buyer confidence has wavered. Professional landlords typically use mortgages to expand their property portfolios, so a drop in mortgage approvals can slow down their portfolio growth”.
She adds: “Nonetheless, specialist lenders are stepping in to assist with complex cases, and Shawbrook has observed an increase in landlords embracing diversification strategies, including more commercial assets. This signals the resilience and adaptability of seasoned investors who remain focused on seizing fresh opportunities.”