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UK mortgage approvals climb to highest in more than two years

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UK mortgage approvals rose to a two-year high last month in a sign confidence may be returning to the market.

[LONDON] UK mortgage approvals rose to a two-year high last month in a sign confidence may be returning to the market.

The number of loans climbed to 42,989, the most since February 2017 and more than 10 per centhigher than a year earlier, lobby group UK Finance said on Tuesday.

The British housing market has been sluggish since the Brexit referendum almost three years ago, with London taking most of the hit. Still, prices outside the capital have started picking up as low interest rates and record employment underpin demand.

Credit-card spending in April - at 11.4 billion pounds (S$19.3 billion) - was up almost 12 per cent compared with a year earlier. UK Finance said that reflects a growing preference for using cards, though with repayments keeping up with spending, consumers are "managing their finances."

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The UK Finance report covers seven high street banks representing around 60 per cent of total mortgage lending. The Bank of England will publish its mortgage and lending data on May 31.

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