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Mortgage approvals - small recovery
The number of mortgage approvals rose to 55,634 last month, new figures show
Mortgage approvals made a slight recovery last month from a 15-year low, but they remain way below their long-term average, high street banking figures have shown.
There were 55,634 approvals in July worth £7 billion, an increase on just over 51,000 approvals seen in June, which was the lowest figure the British Bankers' Association (BBA) had on its records, which go back to 1997.
But within the mortgage figures for last month, approvals for house purchase were 17% lower than a year ago at 28,441 approvals worth £4.5 billion.
There were 15,600 remortgaging approvals worth £2.1 billion, representing a 41% drop compared with July 2011.
The BBA said the figures reflect the "continued low levels of activity in the housing market".
Lenders have been tightening their borrowing criteria in recent months amid the weak economy, triggering a drop in the proportion of approvals.
Mortgage giant Santander has become the latest in a string of lenders to announce plans to increase its standard variable rate (SVR), in a move which will see several hundred thousand people's payments increase.
The Bank of England and the Treasury fired an £80 billion "funding for lending" scheme into action at the start of this month to unclog the flow of credit.
But while competition among lenders to attract borrowers with larger deposits has recently increased, the number of deals available for people with lower deposits and first-time buyers has shrunk back over the last six months.
Some recent studies have also suggested that distractions such as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the Olympics have resulted in fewer house-hunters over the summer.
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