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Mortgage market "hits the accelerator"Brokers say the mortgage market is motoring again with new Bank of England figures showing approvals up 10% in April alone.

There were 68,076 mortgages for house purchase totalling £11.1 billion over the month, up from 61,945 in March.

That is the strongest monthly jump in numbers since February 2009 and the highest lending figure since February 2014.

Peter Williams, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), said: "The mortgage market finally hit the accelerator in April and that is an encouraging sign for consumers that there is plenty of life left."

Williams said lenders have been forced to batten down the hatches over the last year to adapt to new regulations.

"With the Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD) on the horizon, we are still caught in the eye of the regulatory storm, so it is reassuring to see that more people are being approved for loans than at any point since the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) took effect.

"In particular, the rush of remortgaging proves that existing borrowers are still able to switch loan under the new affordability regime."

Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), said confidence is much higher now that the MMR has bedded in.

"Remortgage approvals have risen at twice the rate of house purchase approvals over the past year, despite tougher affordability checks which some feared would imprison consumers in their existing deals.

"Falling mortgage rates have boosted demand in the remortgage sector, and there are significant savings to be had for borrowers moving away from their lender's SVR."

Murphy said that with the election clearly having little impact on mortgage activity, the outlook for the rest of 2015 remains positive.

"Lenders have a healthy appetite for business, and affordability conditions are being helped by the low rate environment.

However, today's rock-bottom prices can't last forever and it is likely we'll see greater levels of mortgage activity as borrowers seek to lock into a preferable rate while they still can."

Richard Pike, sales and marketing director at Phoebus Software, said: "With stamp duty, Help to Buy, low interest rates, higher LTVs and lenders once again willing to lend, the market is ripe for growth.

"If further predictions for the year are to be believed then we are now in for a more buoyant period."


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