U.K. Mortgage Lending Rises at Slowest Pace Since 2012

  • Corrects month of previous low in the second paragraph
  • Mortgage approvals decline to lowest in almost a year

A couple look at houses for sale in the window of an estate agents in Chelmsford.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

U.K. mortgage lending rose the least in more than three years in April after a surge in the first quarter when investors rushed to complete purchases before a new tax came into effect.

The 281 million-pound rise in net lending was the smallest since August 2012. Monthly mortgage approvals fell to 66,250 from 70,305, the least in almost a year, the Bank of England said in London on Wednesday.

The figures add to evidence that the government’s new levy on purchases of second homes and buy-to-let property in April distorted the market at the start of the year. Nationwide Building Society said on Wednesday that it’s difficult to gauge underlying strength through the volatility, though it anticipates continued house-price gains.

The BOE report showed that net lending to consumers rose 1.3 billion pounds in April. On a three-month annualized basis, credit is growing in excess of 10 percent. The BOE’s Financial Policy Committee -- which holds its quarterly meeting this month -- has said that it’s monitoring the pace of borrowing.

M4, a broad measure of money supply, fell 0.1 percent in April from March and was up 1 percent from a year earlier.

The BOE also said overseas investors bought a net 214 million pounds of gilts in April.

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