UK mortgage approvals hit 18-month high in March, Bank of England says

A general view of streets with terraced housing in Blackburn

LONDON (Reuters) -The number of mortgages approved by British lenders rose to an 18-month high in March, according to Bank of England data on Tuesday that confirmed a recovery in the housing market took place in early 2024.

Lenders approved 61,325 mortgages in March, up from 60,497 in February and the highest total since September 2022. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to approvals of around 61,500 mortgages.

The BoE data chimed with other gauges of the housing market that pointed to an upswing in early 2024, after activity slowed last year due to high inflation and rising interest rates.

Net consumer credit lending rose by 1.577 billion pounds ($1.98 billion) in March, up from an increase of 1.429 billion pounds in February - a little higher than the 1.5 billion pound consensus in the Reuters poll.

($1 = 0.7978 pounds)

(Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by David Milliken)