CML welcomes latest figures but warns against over-optimism

Mortgage approvals were up nearly a fifth in February, the first material improvement since mid-2008.

According to Bank of England numbers, 38,000 mortgages got the go-ahead last month up from 31,800 in January. The figure is up more than 10,000 since November.

The Council of Mortgages Lenders (CML) gave a cautious welcome to the news.

Paul Samter, an economist at the CML, said: “This is welcome news, but we will need to see a few more months’ figures before we can say with any confidence that market conditions are showing a fundamental improvement.

“Transactions remain historically very weak and this makes it harder than usual to adjust the figures for the normal upturn that happens in the spring.”

CML represents lenders who underwrite 98% of UK mortgages.