Approvals up in stamp duty rush

Mortgage approvals hit a 25-month high in January after numbers were boosted by first-time buyers rushing to take advantage of a stamp duty holiday.

There were 58,728 loan approvals for house purchase, the highest since December 2009, according to Bank of England figures.

Gross mortgage lending at £12.8bn was higher than the six-month average, although approvals for remortgaging dropped off slightly to 31,952.

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