U.K. Mortgage Approvals Drop as Brexit Fear Hits Housing Market

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. mortgage approvals dipped to a seven-month low in November and unsecured credit rose at its slowest annual pace for almost four years, the Bank of England said.

The figures reflect weakening consumer confidence as fears mount that Britain could crash out of the European Union without a deal. House prices rose the least since 2013 last year, Nationwide Building Society said in a separate report Friday.

U.K. Mortgage Approvals Drop as Brexit Fear Hits Housing Market

Key Insights

  • Home-loan approvals dropped more than forecast to 63,728 from a downwardly revised 66,709 in October. Actual mortgage lending rose by 3.5 billion ($4.4 billion) pounds, below the average of the previous six months.
  • Consumer credit rose 7.1 percent from a year earlier, the weakest since March 2015 and down from growth rates above 10 percent in 2017.
  • At 924 million pounds, net unsecured lending was below 1 billion pounds for a third month running. Credit growth has averaged just 0.4 percent in the latest three months, the least in five years.
  • Consumer-credit figures reflect concern about the economic outlook and tighter credit-scoring criteria by lenders. Demand for car finance, which helped fuel the credit boom, has been particularly subdued in recent months.
  • Non-resident investors bought 2.4 billion pounds of U.K. government bonds following purchases of 5 billion pounds in October; lending to non-financial businesses rose 3.5 billion pounds.

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