The number of mortgages approved by High Street banks rose to its highest level in 12 months in January, fresh figures have shown.

Citing data from the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), the Reuters agency said a total of 44,657 mortgages were approved in January, up from 43,581 in December.

The figure was 2.5% lower than the number of approvals recorded in January last year.

Some 28,862 re-mortgaging approvals were recorded last month — a 16% improvement on the previous year — as existing home owners raced to take advantage of low mortgage rates.

Consumer credit was up by 6.7% year-on-year in January, primarily as a result of an increase in personal loans.

“The new year saw home owners make the most of historically low interest rates by taking advantage of competitive re-mortgage offers,” Eric Leenders, BBA managing director for retail banking, was quoted as saying by the Press Association.

“Nearly 29,000 of these deals were approved last month – 16% higher than January last year.”

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