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ISA deposits hit record high, Bank of England says | Business News


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The amount of money being deposited into ISAs has hit a record high, according to new official figures.

Households put an additional £11.7bn into the savings accounts last month – the highest since records began in April 1999, the Bank of England said.

It comes amid 16-year-high interest rates, which have been held at 5.25% since August.

However, the Bank said the “effective” interest rate – the actual interest paid – on new deposits with banks and building societies increased by 3 basis points, to 4.40% in April.

The “effective” interest rate on newly drawn mortgages was 4.74%, according to the figures released on Friday.

Officials said mortgage approvals fell slightly to 61,100 – down from the 61,300 recorded in March, which had been the highest level since September 2022 amid signs of increased housing market activity.

It came after mortgage rates edged slightly higher in April as some lenders pushed back expectations for when the Bank would next cut interest rates.

Approvals for remortgaging also decreased to 29,900 for the month, from 33,500 in March.

However, there was an increase in net mortgage borrowing for the month. The Bank reported net mortgage debt of £2.4bn in April, up from £0.5bn a month earlier.

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Meanwhile, consumer credit borrowing decreased from £1.4bn to £0.7bn in April, as households spent less on credit cards.

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Inflation dropped to 2.3% in April – the lowest level in nearly three years.

Karim Haji, KPMG’s head of financial services, said the latest figures “show that many households are still feeling unable to stretch themselves”.

He added: “We continue to see reports that default rates on credit cards and unsecured lending have gone up in recent months. This suggests that we have some way to go until lending markets normalise.

“Lenders should remain wary of customers’ financial positions when looking to borrow – particularly as the cost of borrowing doesn’t look set to be coming down any time soon.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “Mortgage approvals for new purchases were fairly consistent with the previous month, perhaps reflecting mortgage rates edging upwards, which may have raised borrower concerns with regards to affordability and confidence.”

Separate figures from Nationwide on Friday said month-on-month house prices increased by 0.4% in May.

The building society’s chief economist Robert Gardner said the market appeared to be showing “signs of resilience in the face of ongoing affordability pressures”.

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