U.K. Mortgage Data Show One of World’s Hot Markets Losing Steam
(Bloomberg) -- U.K. mortgage approvals fell to their lowest level in almost a year in June as house hunters ran out of time to take full advantage of a tax cut on purchases.
Banks and building societies authorized 81,338 home loans, the least since July last year and down from 86,949 in May, the Bank of England said Thursday.
The figures confirm that one of the world’s hottest property markets is finally cooling off. House prices fell in July, Nationwide Building Society said Wednesday, and the decline in approvals suggest the market is set for steady rather than spectacular growth in the months ahead.
A tax break worth as much as 15,000 pounds ($21,000) to buyers has fueled a property boom since it was introduced a year ago and driven transactions to record levels. But given the time needed to complete a property transaction, those still looking for a home last month were almost certainly too late to benefit in full from the waiver, which has now been scaled back.
On July 1, the stamp-duty threshold was lowered by a half, limiting the saving on a 500,000-pound home to just 2,500 pounds, From Oct. 1, the threshold will revert to its pre-pandemic level of 125,000 pounds.
A seperate report showed consumers took on unsecured debt for a third month as the economy reopened. It follows months of repayments during the coronavirus lockdown, when limited opportunities to spend left many households with cash to spare.
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