The Bank of England has released its latest Money and Credit statistics which show that net consumer credit growth remained at 6.1% in January, stabilising after the downward trend seen over the past three years.

Meanwhile, mortgage approvals for house purchase rose to 70,900, the highest since February 2016. Whilst UK businesses made net repayments of £0.4 billion of finance in January, driven by net repayments of loans.

Commenting on the figures Mark Gordon, director of money at comparethemarket.com, said “Mortgage approvals for house purchases started the year on a confident note, hitting highs not seen since February 2016. It appears that buyers and sellers are returning to the market after a period of relative uncertainty; whether this is a temporary bounce or the start of a sustained increase in market activity remains to be seen. Lenders continue to compete fiercely for new customers by narrowing the gap on their fixed rate deals. For those looking to take their first step on the property ladder, borrowers would be well advised to shop around online to take advantage of very competitive deals currently available.”

Richard Pike, Phoebus Software Sales and Marketing Director, said “This is our first insight into the mortgage lending figures for January and it has to be said that it is a reassuring picture that reflects a boost in confidence since the general election.  With Nationwide Building Society last week reporting that house price growth is at its highest for 18 months, we are looking at a more buoyant market generally.  That being said there are a few factors that may well start to weigh heavy on confidence once again.  Coronavirus is already having an effect on worldwide markets and, of course, we have the EU negotiations kicking off in earnest again this week.  Add to that the impending budget and there is a lot for people to think about.”

“Nontheless, the general malaise the market has suffered since 2016 seems to be behind us for now so we have to be optimistic, the budget may well give us all a nice surprise.”