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Mortgage approvals down 20% year on year, but sunnier days ahead

The latest market analysis by specialist property lending experts, Octane Capital, reveals that recent uncertainty in the property market during the closing stages of 2022 has led to the number of mortgage approvals declining by -20% in the past year, while the number of remortgaging approvals has soared as existing borrowers stay put and look to stabilise their financial foundations by borrowing more. 

The cost of living crisis and increasing price of borrowing has had a significant effect on the mortgage sector.

 In 2021, there were a total of 944,704 house purchase mortgage approvals in the UK. In 2022, this dropped to 753,946 homeowners approvals, marking an annual decline of -20.2%.


Financial concerns induced by the cost of living crisis clearly caused many potential buyers to postpone their plans in 2022, not least due to the fact that mortgage prices shot up seemingly overnight following the shambolic mini budget unveiled by the government in September of last year.

At the same time, the number of re-mortgaging approvals increased from 460,462 to 539,528 between 2021 and 2022, an annual rise of 17.2%.

This serves as further evidence of public concern brought on by recent economic uncertainties, with more homeowners trying to reduce their mortgage rates or release some equity to fund soaring costs elsewhere in their lives.

These market trends are further supported when analysing the overall monetary value of mortgage approvals. In 2021, the total value of property purchase approvals was £208bn. In 2022, this dropped to £176bn, a decline of -15.3%.

At the same time, the overall value of re-mortgaging approvals increased from £92bn to £113bn, marking a 22.6% rise. 


However, while the total value of homebuyer mortgages has fallen, the average value of each individual approval has actually increased by 6.2%, from £219,899 in 2021, to £233,510 in 2022. 

This shows that while the number of buyers entering the market has fallen, the amount each is borrowing has grown, as they tried to contend with house price highs that were driven by the pandemic market boom and, as of yet, have shown little signs of reducing. 

The average value of a re-mortgaging approval has also increased, rising by 4.6% between 2021 and 2022. 

CEO of Octane Capital, Jonathan Samuels said: “Despite house prices continuing to climb in 2022, the immediate economic uncertainty that rattled the mortgage sector following September’s mini budget has had a notable impact when it comes to the number of mortgage approvals attributed to new house purchases in 2022. 

“At the same time, there has been a notable uplift in homeowners deciding to play it safe and stick with their current home, opting to re-mortgage in order to improve both their home and their financial stability. 

“However, mortgage rates are already on the decline so far this year, dropping by -14% in January alone. On top of that, the wider economic outlook for 2023 is looking far brighter than many people feared towards the end of last year. All in all, we expect spring and summer to bring sunnier days to the property market and a rejuvenated level of buyer activity to sweep the market.”

Data tables

Data tables and sources can be viewed online, here.


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