Mortgage lenders approved the highest number of loans for house purchase in nearly four years in January, according to Bank of England figures.

The BoE says lenders signed off 70,888 mortgages in January, well up on the 67,930 in December and the highest figure since February 2016.

However, these figures obviously apply to the market well before the recent concerns over the spread of Coronavirus.

“Buyers are returning in their droves following December’s election result. It is this huge influx of demand that has seen prices increase at such notable rates of late and as a result, the market is now in the best shape it’s been since the EU Referendum itself” says the director of the Benham and Reeves estate agency, Marc von Grundherr.

Mortgage guru Mark Harris, chief executive of broker SPF Private Clients, says: “This is no real surprise with an uptick in confidence and buyers and sellers willing to get deals done. We await with interest to see what the numbers look like over coming months, and hope for more of the same level of growth.

“For those who need to borrow, the good news is that all lenders want to do more lending and a competitive market bodes well. If lenders can’t offer the cheapest rates then they will have to tweak criteria and offer more niche products for those borrowers who are perhaps not served that well by lenders."

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