RTTNews - The number of mortgages approved for house purchase in the U.K. rose to 31,162 in May from revised 29,018 in April, the British Bankers' Association said Tuesday. That was above the expected number of 29,000. Compared to the previous year, it was an increase of 15.8%.

At the same time, the number of re-mortgaging approvals declined to 24,847 from 25,536. The association said though the numbers of approvals for remortgaging and other purposes declined compared to the previous year, the trends appears to be stabilizing at current levels.

Gross mortgage lending in May dropped to GBP 7.7 billion from GBP 7.9 billion in April. That marked the lowest monthly figure since February 2001. However, the value of loans approved for house purchase rose to GBP 4 billion from GBP 3.6 billion in the previous month.

Net lending in May rose GBP 2.3 billion, the weakest monthly increase since early 2001. In April, it rose GBP 2.5 billion.

BBA statistics director, David Dooks said, Unlike much of the mortgage market, the high street banks are still seeing lending growth and improved mortgage availability is reflected in higher average loan approval values.

Consumers' borrowing appetite remains weak, reflecting uncertainty over household circumstances, so credit growth is negligible and spending activity on credit cards is down on this time last year, Dooks added.

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