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U.K. Jan BBA Mortgage Approvals Top Forecast

2/23/2012 4:42 AM ET

The number of mortgage approvals for house purchase in the U.K. increased more than expected in January, data released by the British Bankers' Association (BBA) showed Thursday.

Mortgage approvals totaled 38,092, up from an upwardly revised 36,553 in December. Economists had forecast approvals to come in at 36,250.

"January saw the high street banks approve more mortgages for house purchase than of late, despite low household confidence, as some people try to complete transactions before the stamp duty holiday ends in March," BBA Statistics Director David Dooks said.

In January, annual growth in banks' net mortgage lending was 1.3 percent, which outstripped the 0.8 percent gain across the whole lending market, BBA said. Unsecured lending fell 1.6 percent in the 12 months to January.

"Demand for unsecured personal borrowing remains low as consumers continue to repay debt," Dooks said. "Business borrowing remains generally subdued as challenging trading and market conditions continue to suppress demand."

by RTT Staff Writer

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