Mortgage borrowing in March rose by a net £11.8 billion pounds, the strongest since BoE records began in April 1993.
Lenders approved 82,735 mortgages in March – some 5,000 fewer than in February – but the March 2021 figure was 45 per cent up on March 2020.
Reaction from the industry has been swift and supportive.
“I expect we will see a robust rebound in mortgage approvals in April fuelled by both the vaccine rollout and extended stamp duty holiday which encouraged more homebuyers to come out of hiding and start house hunting” says Twindig PropTech chief Anthony Codling.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, comments: “Mortgage approvals are always a good indicator of future direction of travel for the market. And although these numbers are a little lower than the previous month, they reinforce what we have been seeing on the ground – buyers are determined to move even though many know the log jam in the system will mean they won’t be able to take advantage of the stamp duty concession before the tapering begins at the end of June.
“Looking forward, we don’t expect much to change although prices will probably soften rather than correct as more people’s requirements are satisfied and balance between supply and demand returns.”
David Ross, Hometrack’s managing director, adds: “Our figures show that April is set to outperform March, signalling further activity to come for lenders.
“Our data shows £150 billion of property transactions were completed in the first 15 weeks of 2021. Running 10 weeks ahead of a typical year, this level wouldn’t normally be achieved until the end of June. At the same time, one in every 50 homes was sold between January 1 and April 15, up from one in every 100 during the same period last year.”