Image credit: Flickr/Raphael Chekroun

One chart shows how the mortgage market is balancing itself out

Mortgage approvals have been dropping since January - but they kept falling last month, according to the Bank of England.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 04 Jul 2014

The Financial Conduct Authority's Mortgage Market Review, which came into force in April, has been alternately criticised as too harsh or a bit ineffective. The measures gave banks more power to quiz people about their spending habits, and was followed up last week with new rules which will (for the large part) cap mortgages at 4.5 times people'searnings and allow lenders to 'stress test' prospective borrowers.

Mark Carney's prediction, when he introduced the latter cluster of measures, was that their effect on the market would be 'gradual'.

If we're honest, though, it doesn't look like the market needed much help: figures published by the Bank of England this morning show the number of mortgage approvals fell in May for the fifth month in a row, dropping to 61,707 from 62,806 the month before. In fact, approvals peaked in January, way before cooling measures became A Thing:

So does this mean we're all becoming a bit hysterical about house prices and that the market is balancing itself out of its own accord? Difficult to say - although it's worth taking into account net lending, ie. the total amount lent as mortgages, which rose by £1.9bn. So banks are lending fewer, larger amounts. Which is hardly encouraging for first-time buyers.

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