Mortgage approvals last month reached their highest number since September 2007 amid pent-up demand in the housing market, the latest figures from the Bank of England show.
The number of mortgage approvals for house purchases increased to a 13-year high of 91,500 in September from 85,500 in August.
The September approval figures were 24% higher than approvals in February, before the coronavirus pandemic.
Households borrowed heavily to purchase property in September, with net mortgage borrowing at £4.8bn, up from £3bn in August.
It is the latest evidence that the recovery of the housing market post-lockdown is continuing, with the average asking price of homes coming on to the market in Britain now at a record high, supported in part by the existing stamp duty holiday.
Craig McKinlay, new business director at Kensington Mortgages, commented: “The temporary reform of stamp duty and pent up demand has provided a boost for the property market. Despite there being less product choice available, September is traditionally a busy month of activity for the market, and mortgage approvals have shot up to their highest rate since September 2007.”
But McKinlay says that these results do not reflect the fact that many first-time buyers and self-employed borrowers are being left behind “in this mini-market boom – unable to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday”.
He added: “Mortgage lenders need to be as flexible as possible to accommodate these individuals and use manual underwriting approaches to assess an individual’s affordability on a case by case basis.”
With payment holidays and the government’s furlough scheme coming to an end, lenders will be faced with another priority – supporting borrowers who continue to face financial hardship beyond October, according to Steve Seal, managing director at Bluestone Mortgages.
He said: “While additional support will be crucial for many households, the harsh reality is that this will impact people’s credit scores and, as a result, they may not be eligible for mainstream lending later on.
“Therefore, it is likely that many borrowers will need extra support in the future when it comes to securing financing, and the specialist market will be essential for providing these individuals with the lifeline they need.
“This is why it is important that specialist lenders work closely with brokers to prepare for the long-term implications of Covid-19, so they can meet the heightened demand from consumers expected over the coming years with efficiency.”