There has been a sharp decline in the number of mortgages being approved in the UK – the first such dip in the last 12 months.

According to data released by the Bank of England, February saw just over 70,300 mortgage approvals. In January, more than 76,650 people clinched a home loan.

The Bank did caveat the results though. Saying that they were not indicative of a slowdown, it also highlighted that January approvals were ‘erratically high’.

A number of industry analysts and mortgage advisors were also expecting a fall, with the bad weather the country experienced in February.

The waning of the initial spurt in growth by the Help to Buy scheme has also been cited as a contributing factor by many, though the monthly results were still over 33% higher than the same period last year.

A leading economist for the UK, Howard Archer, said of the results:

“The dip in approvals does little to dilute the view that the housing market is sustaining robust momentum.”

Property analyst Ed Stanfield agreed. Claiming that the dip was likely to be a temporary fall, he said:

“Today’s sharp fall in mortgage approvals should go some way towards calming fears that the housing market recovery is rapidly spiralling out of control.”

Whilst it is the biggest single fall of approval numbers in six years, it is likely to be welcomed by a number of official bodies.

As Stanfield highlighted, a number of analysts feared the market could be bubbling. The London market was a particular cause for concern, with the Bank of England governor warning that tighter controls could be introduced.

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