Mortgage approvals rise in January

The number of people taking out a mortgage to buy a house in Scotland and the rest of the country increased in the first month of the year, new figures show.

January saw mortgage approvals jump three per cent to 75,300 from the low December figure of 73,000, according to Connells Survey and Valuation.

However, the firm’s managing director Ross Bowen warned that the market remains weak.

"The mortgage market may finally be finding a floor after months of decline caused by higher interest rates, the reduced supply of credit from mortgage lenders and the lack of consumer confidence," he commented.

But he added that one month’s figures are not conclusive and that the market remains the weakest in 13 years.

Mr Bowen also said that the ongoing effect of home information packs, following their full implementation at the end of 2007, is unknown.

Nevertheless, the interest from people looking to buy a house in Scotland and the rest of the UK seems "renewed".

"The latest rate cut will help to stimulate demand, but only if mortgage lenders pass on lower rates to their customers," Mr Bowen predicted.

In other news that may be of interest to people looking to take out a mortgage or buy a house in Scotland, the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee last week voted for a 0.25 per cent cut in the interest rate to 5.25 per cent.