Consumer borrowing up but mortgage market remains subdued

Unsecured consumer borrowing rose in the May but the mortgage market remains subdued according to latest figures from the Bank of England (BoE).

Unsecured borrowing outstripped repayments by £732m from £379m in May, due largely to a marked rise in loan and overdraft borrowing. Credit card borrowing also increased by £70m across the same period of time.

Meanwhile housing market data from the BoE showed a subdued picture of the property market. The number of mortgages approved for house purchase fell to 51,098 down from 51, 627 recorded in April.

Mortgage approvals were worth a total of £7.6bn in May the lowest level since the end of the stamp duty holiday for first time buyers in March, and significantly lower than the two year high seen in January.

Mortgage repayments were up in May totaling at £11.7bn, above the average £11.6bn recording across the preceding six months.

Howard Archer, from IHS Global Insight said:

"Mortgage approvals have hovered around 50,000 since January. This indicates that underlying housing market activity remains weak following a limited boost to housing activity in late-2011/early-2012 from first-time buyers looking to complete before the stamp duty concession ended on March 24.

"The ongoing muted mortgage activity reported by the Bank of England maintains our suspicion that house prices are likely to drift lower over the second half of 2012 and are likely to fall by around 3% from current levels."