"Autumn is historically the strongest time of the year, and the approval count has already improved over the summer months"
Over the past five years mortgage approvals across September, October and November have been 7% higher than the overall average, making up 27% for the whole year, exceeding Winter (26%) and Summer (25%).
Spring tends to be the quietest period, as just 22% of approvals tend to take place between April and June.
A quieter market - for now
The mortgage market is very much in need of an Autumn boost, and that’s confirmed by the data.
Mortgage approvals have fallen by -23.7% year-on-year, as there were just 633,400 over the past 12 months, down from 830,600 over the course of the previous 12 months.
The picture also continues to worsen in more recent times, as in the past six months approvals are -14.7% lower than the six months before, at 291,600 compared to 341,800.
The tide may finally be turning, however, as things have gradually improved in the last two months. Approvals climbed by 3.2% in May and then by 6.9% in June, although the market still has a long way to go before it returns to full strength.
Since December 2021 activity has been curbed by 14 successive base rate increases from the Bank of England, taking it from 0.1% to 5.25%, in measures designed to curb inflation.
The question is whether we’re nearing the tipping point in terms of interest rates, which will allow the market to settle down and for buyers to adapt to a new normal.
Jonathan Samuels, CEO of Octane Capital, commented: “The mortgage market has had a mixed year, but activity could intensify in the months ahead.
“Autumn is historically the strongest time of the year, and the approval count has already improved over the summer months.
“Mortgage rates are steady and in many cases now falling, which should help to spur on potential buyers.
“For those who can afford to move, there are opportunities - in a quieter market you don’t need to rush into any decisions and can buy at a competitive price.”