Response to Bank of England’s money and credit statistics

Steve McNicholas, Managing Director – Credit and Marketing Data, Callcredit Information Group, commenting on the Bank of England’s money and credit statistics, said:“Mortgage approvals have rebounded unexpectedly in January, following the decrease in December to the lowest level in three years. Looking ahead, mortgage approvals are likely to remain subdued both in light of the ongoing speculation about interest rates, and because of the slow growth in the housing market overall. This is especially true for the first-time buyer’s market, where house prices continue to rise faster than wages. In addition, consumers’ increased dependence on credit cards could also have an impact on affordability.

“Last year saw the first rate hike in 10 years, with the Bank’s governor, Mark Carney, hinting that at least two more will be needed by 2020. This will likely be a concern for many with variable rate mortgages. However, lenders should not react in haste. Instead, they should maintain stringent ongoing affordability checks which are crucial not only in order to protect individual borrowers, but the wider economy, from a rise in unsustainable household debt.”