For sale signsMortgage approvals to home buyers climbed to a 10-month high in November in a further sign that a multibillion-pound scheme to boost lending is having an impact.

Bank of England figures showed there were 54,036 approvals for house purchase during the month worth £8.1 billion - the highest number since January last year.


The latest figures add to evidence that a Government initiative launched in August to encourage banks to lend to households and firms by giving lenders access to cheap finance is working.

The number of mortgages on the market has seen a significant increase since the funding for lending scheme began and lenders have been aggressively slashing their rates.

On Thursday, the Bank published its latest survey of lenders, which found that mortgage availability rose significantly in the final three months of 2012, setting a new high since the survey began in 2007.

Banks and building societies have said they expect to ramp up lending significantly in the first three months of 2013 and plan to increase their mortgage ranges for borrowers with smaller deposits.

The Bank's newly released figures also showed that the number of remortgage approvals dropped slightly month-on-month in November, with 28,632 approvals worth £3.8 billion. However, the number is still higher than the six-month average.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, pointed out that despite the recent uplift, mortgage approvals are still low by historic standards.

He said: "Mortgage approvals are still weak compared to long-term norms at 54,036 in November.

"Specifically, mortgage approvals have averaged 85,773 a month since 1993, while a level of 70,000-80,000 has in the past been considered consistent with stable house prices."