Housing loan activity still low

Homeowners working out whether to move or improve may be swung by recent figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

The data shows the number of home loan approvals during April 2009 was less than half the average from the same month taken over the previous seven years.

Around 35,600 were granted this April, compared to the typical number of 88,000.

Nearly seven in ten (69 per cent) of those taking out mortgages opted for a fixed-rate deal – averaging 4.83 per cent – the research found.

CML head of research Bob Pannell explained the agreements were likely to remain popular for a while, with the interest rate cycle having reached its floor.

"There are tentative signs of house purchase lending stabilising, but we need to see considerably higher transaction levels to underpin house prices," he said.

If this is the case, some homeowners may decide to improve their current property with a dining room or kitchen extension.

Last month, Halifax reported the most popular space-adding modification is an extension, followed by conservatories and loft conversions.