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UK mortgage approvals rose in March

The number of people taking out new mortgages in the UK rose in March, according to figures from the Bank of England.

Expectations were much lower than the actual results, revealing the market could potentially be getting back on track.

Homebuyers may be benefiting from the central bank's credit scheme, which allows individuals to obtain a mortgage with lower deposits.

There were 53,504 mortgage approvals in the month of March, compared with less than 52,000 in February.

However, the total was still below the figure reached in December 2012, when there were more than 55,000 approvals.

The amount of lending to businesses was down by a further 3.6 per cent, despite attempts by the central bank to boost it.

Philip Shaw, an economist with Investec, said: "The encouraging pointer is the rebound in mortgage approvals for house purchases. What isn't clear is whether approvals were depressed once again by cold weather conditions."

By Claire Archer