Mortgage approvals less than half of seven-year average

While the number of mortgage approvals increased slightly in April 2009, the total number was less than half the average for the month over the past seven years, according to figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

The news may sway the minds of those wondering whether to move home or improve their property with a conservatory or folding sliding doors.

Data from CML shows the seven-year average for April of 88,000 is more than double the 35,600 approvals seen in 2009.

Another aspect shown in the research was the trend for fixed-rate mortgages, with 69 per cent of home loans falling into this category.

This is likely to prove a popular option for the time being, with the interest cycle having reached its floor, according to CML head of research Bob Pannell.

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

Recent figures from Halifax show extensions to be the space-adding home improvement of choice in the UK, with conservatories and loft conversions almost as popular.