Home loans rise asconfidence of buyers grows

Mortgage approvals hit their highest level since the start of the year in April, as buyers' confidence about the housing market rose.

The Bank of England reported that lenders paid out 51,823 loans last month, up from 51,067 in March, when figures were already strong as first-time buyers rushed into the housing market before the end of the stamp duty holiday.

But although April's approvals were higher than economists had expected, they remain low compared to long-term norms.

Some 90,000 mortgages were arranged every month before the credit crunch hit four years ago.

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