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Mortgage approvals for home purchase hit a six-month low in September, data from the main high street banks shows.

Figures from trade body UK Finance showed there were 37,352 mortgage approvals for house purchase last month, down 9.4% annually and the lowest figure since March 2018.

It is also the third consecutive month that approvals have dropped.

Lenders also approved fewer remortgages, down 7.4% annually to 27,676.

Commenting on the figures, Paul Hunt, managing director of financial technology firm Phoebus Software, said: “We are beginning to see something of a trend with the market waning in the past few months.

“However, recent reports show first-time buyer activity at a 14-month high and there are also growing signs that there is still a good amount of appetite with some estate agents reporting an increase in the number of properties coming to market.

“Nevertheless, to say we are heading into choppy waters is probably an understatement as the politics surrounding Brexit negotiations continue to cast doubt in people’s minds.

“However, with mortgage lenders having quotas to fill and targets to hit, we could see a raft of deals coming to market to tempt. As consumers turn to credit cards to fund their spending, the question will be whether, as we head towards Christmas, people choose property or the path of least resistance.”

Meanwhile, data from Mortgages for Business, based on its third quarter activity, has suggested buy-to-let mortgages for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) have become the most popular form of borrowing by landlords.

The broker found that 32% of completed purchase transactions were for HMO buy-to-let loans, up from 32% in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, the proportion of standard buy-to-let purchase loans fell from 35% to 33% over the same period.

The broker also found that the proportion of buy-to-let transactions completed by limited companies increased from 42% to 44% between the second and third quarter.

However, their share of the value of lending fell from 44% to 43%.

Looking ahead, there was a drop in the proportion of applications submitted by landlords using a corporate structure from 48% in the second quarter to 44% in the third.

Source: Property Industry Eye

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