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Bank figures show approvals may have found a floor

Mortgage approval levels started to show some signs of levelling off in July after sharp falls.

Figures from the British Bankers’ Association show that gross mortgage lending was £14.6bn, slightly down from £15bn in June. Net mortgage lending was £4.3bn, the same as in June.

The gross lending figure for July represents a 25 per cent fall from the previous year and house purchase loans at £3.3bn gross were 69 per cent down over the year.

House purchase approvals were 22,448 in July, down slightly from 22,369 in June and a 65 per cent on 2007. Remortgage approvals were 54,232, down from 58,624 in June and a 21 per cent year on year drop.

Statistics director David Dooks says: “It would be premature to think the housing market will now start to recover because overall approval activity continues to be very low.”

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors senior economist Oliver Gilmartin says: “Few crumbs of comfort can be taken from signs that mortgage activity may have finally found a floor amid a stalling economy and expected rises in unemployment.”

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