Mortgage approvals rose by just over three per cent from 49,000 in April to 50,500 in May according to new Bank of England money and credit statistics.
This is despite the ongoing base rate mayhem and the average rate on new mortgages increasing by 10 basis points to 4.56 per cent.
Approvals for remortgaging also bucked expectations and rose from 32,500 to 33,600 during the same period – an increase of 3.38 per cent.
Meanwhile, the stats show that individuals repaid, net, £0.1 billion of mortgage debt in May. This followed a £1.5 billion net repayment in April.
SPF Private Clients chief executive Mark Harris says: “Although mortgage approvals ticked up again in May, buyers are concerned as to what’s going on in the wider economy and what they can afford. The worst of the pain may not be over with further rate rises possible as inflation proves to be more stubborn than the Bank of England previously forecast.
“Swap rates, which underpin the pricing of fixed-rate mortgages, are still edging upwards, with lenders pulling deals and repricing higher. This suggests we will see some volatility in the market for a while to come.”
And John Phillips, national operations director at Just Mortgages, adds “The Bank of England statistics have once again defied expectations with a rise in both the number and the value of mortgage approvals in May. This once again shows the resilience of the UK housing market and the appetite or need of people still to buy property and move home.
“The rise in the number of remortgages is less astonishing – in fact it’s more of a surprise that the numbers aren’t higher, with 1.5m people due to come off a fixed rate this year. But with continued escalation of interest rates, many people could face their monthly payments tripling which will cause a real payment shock for many.
“While conditions are definitely tougher for mortgage brokers, arguably their help and advice have never been more needed than it is right now. Brokers are needed not only to find like-for-like remortgages but also to find more creative solutions for those who are really struggling to meet the new payment amounts, which may involve increasing the term of the mortgage for example, while always making borrowers aware of the implications on the overall amount of interest they will pay.”