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12 Feb, 2008

Leah Milner
Date: 11-Feb-2008

Mortgage approvals for house purchase rose 3% in January, the latest figures from Connells Survey & Valuation reveal.
Approvals for purchase hit 75,300 in January, from a December low of 73,000.

Non-seasonally adjusted approvals rose to 50,600 from December's 50,000.

This is the first increase in mortgage approvals since May 2007, but despite this improvement, it has been the weakest January figure since Bank of England records began in 1994.

Compared to January 2007, the decline in approvals is 38%. Mortgage approvals have fallen in ten of the last twelve months

Ross Bowen, managing director of Connells Survey & Valuation, says: "The mortgage market may finally be finding a floor after months of decline caused by higher interest rates, the reduced supply of credit from mortgage lenders and the lack of consumer confidence.

"We should not read too much into one month's numbers, this is still the weakest market in 13 years and the ongoing impact of Home Information Packs following full implementation in December is unknown."

But he says: "Connells has seen a rise in housing stock coming onto the market and renewed interest from house hunters. The latest rate cut will help to stimulate demand, but only if mortgage lenders pass on lower rates to their customers."

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