The Shifting Landscape of UK Mortgage Approvals: A Conversation with Experts

Mortgage approvals in the UK have shown a consistent decline, with net approvals dropping from 49,500 in July 2023 to 45,400 in August 2023, following a previous decrease of 54,600 approvals in June 2023. Open Property Group has conducted research on the current state of mortgage approvals in the UK, delving into its implications for current and prospective homeowners. They have obtained exclusive insights from industry experts. Here’s what the experts had to say:

Question 1 – Do you forecast an uplift in UK Mortgage Approvals within the next 12 months?

Ben Grey from CHN Financial Consultancy expresses a cautious view, stating, “I would say the opposite. I think the real issue we are starting to see is not only issues for applicants but issues where valuers are concerned. Clients are having offers accepted on what appears to be fair market conditions, but the surveyors going out and valuing properties on behalf of lenders are being extremely cautious, with no sign of this slowing down, and quite often this means buyers are needing to either find extra cash which isn’t available or attempting to renegotiate the price, which is particularly difficult right now.”

However, Mark Hansard from First Financial holds a more optimistic outlook, saying, “I do think we’ll see an approval uplift, yes. We are in a period now where people have accepted slightly higher rates. I don’t think we will see the rates of 0.85% – 1.5%, for a long time. There is a lot of stock on the market at the moment with Buy-To-Let landlords selling off some of their portfolios so a great chance for first time buyers to get on the ladder.”

Question 2 – Have you spotted any Mortgage Approval patterns across specific regions?

Ben Grey from CHN Financial Consultancy suggests that it’s not strictly region-based, but he notes, “I would not necessarily say this is region based, but I am certainly finding those areas whereby house prices have been slightly inflated over the past few years are having stricter valuations placed upon them, which is your higher value areas.”

Question 3 – Have you spotted any Mortgage Approval patterns based on property type?

Wayne Hill from M&G Mortgages observes, “Of the transactions we have done, more people do appear to be turning to flats than houses.”

Question 4 – Have you spotted any Mortgage Approval patterns based on first-time or second-time buyers?

Wayne Hill from M&G Mortgages points out, “Of the approvals we have done, more are of first-time buyers than second-home movers. I feel that those currently with ownership are wary of the big next step up. Doubling their mortgages and a time when rates are also doubling from what they are used to playing hard on second time movers.”

Mark Hansard from First Financial discusses the ‘new normal’ by saying, “Some lenders offer an increased income multiple if earnings are over a certain amount and some lenders are increasing how much clients can put on interest only, if there is a suitable repayment vehicle in place. I don’t think it’s a bad thing if first time buyers are getting used to rates between 3%-4.5%.”

Open Property Group, specialists in helping homeowners sell their houses fast regardless of the economic climate, believe that “Despite the ongoing market uncertainty, there seems to be a clearer understanding as to what will become the ‘new normal’ in terms of interest rates from now, compared to 12 months ago. Opinions differ, but fluctuating market conditions suggest a more bearish than bullish outlook.”

For the full Expert Commentary Q&A, visit:

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