Approvals leap due to stamp duty holiday

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The Independent Online

Mortgage approvals reached a 25-month high in January after a rush of first-time buyers stormed into the property market in an effort to take advantage of a stamp duty holiday.

Figures from the Bank of England revealed that there were 58,728 loan approvals for house purchase, the highest level since December 2009.

Economists said the surge was because of first-time buyers' attempts to capitalise on the stamp duty holiday on properties worth less than £250,000, which is due to run out on 24 March.

But Howard Archer, of IHS Global Insight, warned: "There is a very real risk that banks' willingness to lend will diminish because of the weak economic environment while there is also the very serious risk that banks' future ability to lend could be constrained by difficult wholesale funding conditions."