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MNI POLICY: BOE: Mortgage Interest Rates Hit New Low>

-Jan Mortgage Approvals 70,888 vs 67,930; Highest Since Feb 2016
     By David Robinson and Irene Prihoda
     MNI (London) - Mortgage approvals rose to their highest level for 
almost four years while the interest rates on new mortgages hit a record 
low, Bank of England data showed. 
     The following are key points from the BOE Money and Credit data 
     -The rise in mortgage approvals to 70,888 in January from 67,930 in 
December lifted them to their highest level since February 2016.
     Approvals are normally a reliable indicator of housing activity in 
coming months, although the spread of coronavirus makes any such 
assumptions less sure than normal. 
     Net mortgage borrowing in January fell to GBP4.007 billion against 
GBP4.400 billion in December.
     -The cost of new borrowing for housing remains hit an all 
time low with the average effective rate on new mortgage falling to 
1.85% in January from 1.88% in December.
     Although the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee left policy 
on hold at its end January meeting these data show how monetary 
conditions were easing, and since then market rate expectations have 
fallen markedly on the back of fears about the implications of the 
spread of coranavirus. 
      Mortgage rates look likely to hit fresh lows in coming months, 
with speculation intensifying over MPC easing.
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-865-3812; email:
[TOPICS: M$B$$$,M$E$$$,MX$$$$,M$$BE$]  

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