New data out for February 2009 here.
Mortgage approvals for house purchase were 37,937 for February 2009 compared to 67,000 in February 2008 and 116,000 in February 2007.
These have been bumping along a range around 30,000 since June 2008 which signified the bottom of the approvals for home purchase. There has been a jump up this month which is a move towards the 80,000 monthly transactions that is widely assumed to be needed for a normal healthy housing market.
A healthy market tends to have approvals in the range 80,000 - 100,000 averaged over the year, so we are currently around a third of the transactions.
I expect these approvals to move upwards now until February 2010, when I expect the approvals to be around 80,000 a month and a normal, healthy housing market to be restored.
As the housing market continues to fall, house prices will continue to become more affordable. I still stand by my prediction for the market to bottom in Q4 2009 although my £140,000 bottom (Halifax data) is looking like it might be challenged.