UK mortgage approvals at two-year high

LONDON: British banks approved the highest number of mortgages in almost two years in January as some investors sought to snap up properties before a tax on buy-to-let properties due in April, industry figures showed on February 24. The British Bankers’ Association said its members approved 47,509 loans for house purchase in January on a seasonally adjusted basis - its highest since February 2014. That was up from a seven-month low of 43,660 in December and 27 per cent higher than the same time last year. Net credit card lending rose by 262 million pounds in January, compared with a 64 million pounds

increase in December. “The start of the year has seen a significant rise in mortgage borrowing. It seems that this has been driven, in part, by borrowers looking to get ahead of the increases in stamp duty for buy-to-let and second home buyers scheduled to come into effect in April,” BBA chief economist Richard Woolhouse said.