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UK December Mortgage Approvals Top Expectations

Mortgage approvals for house purchase in the UK in December was slightly more than expected, though the figure was the lowest in three months, data from the UK Finance showed on Friday.

The seasonally adjusted number of mortgages approved for house purchase by the main high street banks fell to 38,779 in December from 39,205 in November, data from UK Finance, which represents over 250 firms in the banking and finance industry, showed. Economists had forecast 38,700 approvals.

Gross mortgage lending across the residential market grew around 4.7 percent year-on-year to GBP 21.1 billion in December.

For the full year 2018, gross mortgage lending rose 3.8 percent to GBP 267.5 billion.

Credit card spending rose 8.8 percent year-on-year to GBP 11 billion in December. Personal borrowing through loans and overdrafts grew 3.4 percent.

Personal deposits increased 0.6 percent in the year to December.

"Mortgage lending grew in December compared to the previous year, with borrowers defying seasonal trends and purchasing a property throughout the festive period," Eric Leenders, managing director, personal finance at UK Finance said.

"Growth in credit card spending continues to be largely offset by increased cardholder repayments, with almost half of cards not bearing any interest at all. This reflects the growing trend of consumers using credit cards as a preferred payment method rather than as a means of borrowing, in order to take advantage of additional protections and value-added benefits."

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