Mortgage approvals saw pre-election jump, say banks

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There was a "significant pre-election jump" in the number of mortgage applications being approved, according to the High Street banks.

The number of approvals rose 7% in April from March to 42,116, said the British Bankers' Association (BBA).

That is the fastest rise since September 2013, and the highest number for 10 months.

The BBA said one reason may have been the abolition of Stamp Duty on house purchases in Scotland.

It was replaced by the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax on 1 April.

Some reports had suggested the housing market slowed down before the election, as richer buyers worried about Labour's proposed Mansion Tax on homes worth more than £2m.

But the BBA figures indicate that was not the case.

"There was a significant pre-election jump in mortgage approvals which we would expect to continue in the coming months," said Richard Woolhouse, chief economist at the BBA.

However, Matthew Pointon, housing economist at Capital Economics, said the mortgage market was unlikely to take-off as it did in the second half of 2013.

"A lack of available stock continues to dissuade buyers from the entering market," he said.

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