UK mortgage approvals near two year high ahead of buy-to-let.

British banks have approved the highest number of mortgages in nearly two years as investors look to snap up properties prior to the new buy-to-let tax rules due in April.

The BAA said members approved over 47,500 loans for property purchases in Jan on a seasonally adjusted basis – its highest since Feb 2014.

"The start of the year has seen a significant rise in mortgage borrowing. It seems that this has been driven, in part, by borrowers looking to get ahead of the increases in stamp duty for buy-to-let and second home buyers scheduled to come into effect in April," BBA chief economist Richard Woolhouse said.

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