Although the total number and value of mortgage approvals fell in November 2011, those for house purchases rose.

At 52,854 mortgage approvals valued at £7.6 billion, this was a small increase over October’s 52,786 valued at £7.4 billion. This is the second rise in the number and value of mortgages for house purchase in a row according to Bank of England figures (

This though was more than offset by the fall in the number and value of remortgages. These have fallen for the previous two months. September saw 34,468 remortgages valued at £4.5 billion, followed by 34,004 worth £4.4 billion in October then a sharper fall to 31,154 worth £4.1 billion in November.

The difference between the house purchase and remortgaing figures is due to secured borrowing under the heading ‘other’, which has remained broadly unchanged at between 20,000-21,000 worth some £0.6 billion.

These approvals are measure net of cancellations.

The growth rate of lending secured on houses trended down to Nov 2011 from some 1% in late 2009 and ended at just over half a per cent having been at its recent high of 16% back in 2004/2005.

With unsecured lending the seasonally adjusted growth rate for consumer credit has been rising steadily from its late 2009 low of almost 0% to its Nov 2011 of circa 2%. This is a far cry from the late 1990’s when it was nearly 20%. And in the 2007 and 2008 date range it was running at about 6%-8%.

But the growth rate in credit card lending has been trending down from about 4% in late 2009 to about 2% in Nov 2011.

The growth rate of ‘other’ unsecured lending (which includes student loans) has been showing a strong steady upward trend and managed to get out of negative territory in late 2010 and in Nov 2011 stood at just over 2%.

For 2012, with the housing market expected to come under a little more pressure ( and as lending criteria tightens up this year the number of mortgages approved may well start to slide.

We may also see the trend in unsecured lending continue as peoples’ finances start to feel the pinch, but it is interesting to note that for the last couple of years at least the increase seems to have been down to loans, not credit cards.

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