LONDON (Alliance News) – UK mortgage approvals declined more-than-expected to its lowest level in over a year in April, after the stamp duty hike, figures from the British Bankers’ Association said Thursday.

The number of loans approved for house purchase declined sharply to 40,104 from 43,854 in March, revised from 45,096. Economists had forecast 44,700 approvals.

The latest approvals figure was the lowest since March 2015, when they totaled 39,187. Year-on-year, approvals were lower by about 6%.

Gross mortgage borrowing rose 12% year-on-year to GBP 12 billion and net mortgage borrowing was around 3% higher.

“As expected, growth in mortgage lending has fallen back sharply on last month proving that March’s results were just a Stamp-Duty spike,” BBA Chief Economic Advisor Rebecca Harding said.

Consumer credit continues to show annual growth of about 5% reflecting improved confidence and in the case of personal loans and overdrafts favourable interest rates, BBA said.

Uncertainty about next month’s EU referendum also appears to have gummed up the market, particularly in central London, Pantheon Macroeconomics economist Samuel Tombs said.

“We continue to expect mortgage lending to revive over the course of this year,” Tombs added.

Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX

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