Mortgage approvals rose to their highest level since December 2009 in November, but overall net lending sank to its lowest level since June, Bank of England figures showed on Wednesday.

The data confirm a weak outlook for household spending, and a sharp fall in net mortgage lending shows the housing market remains in the doldrums, despite the small increase in mortgage approvals, which are still half their pre-crisis average.



The over-riding impression remains that consumer appetite for new taking on new borrowing is very low while there is also a strong desire of many consumers to reduce their debt.

Consumer desire to get a tight grip on their finances is clearly the consequence of current heightened concerns over the outlook for the economy and jobs. Meanwhile, there remains limited availability of unsecured credit from banks.

It is possible that the slight pick up in unsecured consumer credit in November could have been influenced by increased 'stressed borrowing' with more people having to borrow to help finance their spending over the Christmas period as a consequence of the extended squeeze on their purchasing power.


Looking at the figures, they are not far off expectations really. I think looking at the releases now it seems to be that the money supply numbers are probably the most disappointing of the lot, which shows a contraction in money supply.

But on the housing side of things, I think it is pretty much the same picture as we have seen over the last year: housing market basically flatlining, with not any particular signs of an improvement in this month's data.


- Highest number of mortgages approved for house purchase since December 2009

- Lowest amount of total net lending since June 2011