LONDON (Reuters) – British banks approved the most mortgages for house purchase in four months in October and consumer borrowing maintained its steady pace of growth, industry data showed on Monday, suggesting the economy was holding up as Brexit neared.
The number of mortgages approved for house purchase rose to 39,697 from a five-month low of 38,712 in September but was down about 1 percent compared with October last year, the seasonally adjusted figures from UK Finance showed.
Britain’s housing market has slowed since the Brexit vote in June 2016. Most of the weakness has been in London and neighbouring areas, which have also been hit by a rise in purchase taxes for property worth over 1 million pounds.
Net mortgage lending edged up to 1.495 billion pounds last month but remained the third weakest reading of 2018.
Unsecured consumer lending held stable, growing by an annual 4.0 percent in October, the same pace as in September.
But lending to non-financial companies was down by an annual 1.9 percent, extending a run of falls seen since April.
(Reporting by William Schomberg; Editing by Andy Bruce)