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UK BBA Mortgage Approvals At 10-month High In April

UK mortgage approvals climbed for a fourth straight month in April to its highest level in ten months, data from the British Bankers' Association revealed Thursday.

The number of loans approved for house purchase rose to a seasonally adjusted 42,116 from March's upwardly revised 39,203. Economists had predicted 39,300 approvals for April.

The April outcome was possibly influenced by the introduction of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland, the BBA noted.

The latest figure was the highest since June last year, when approvals totaled 42,482. Approvals rose 3 percent from a year ago.

Gross mortgage borrowing grew 2 percent from March to GBP 10.5 billion, but was 13 percent lower than in the same month last year.

"British businesses and consumers have started to put their foot on the gas. There appears to be broad confidence about the economy, which the banks are supporting through affordable credit, leading to rises in borrowing across the board," BBA Chief Economist Richard Woolhouse said.

"Business lending has risen in three of the first four months this year indicating that we might have reached a turning point. There was a significant pre-election jump in mortgage approvals which we would expect to continue in the coming months."

Further, Woolhouse said the sharp rise in the amount savers deposited in their bank accounts and increase in personal loans and credit card borrowing suggest that consumer spending will continue to drive the British economy forwards.

Unsecured borrowing grew 4.9 percent annually in April, which was the fastest rate since autumn 2010. High street banks' credit card borrowing annual growth accelerated to 5 percent, in line with the all issuers credit card market that logged an annual growth of 4.9 percent.

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