UK mortgage approvals hit four-month high in May - UK Finance

An apartment block is constructed behind a row of traditional properties in central London December 11, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - The number of mortgages approved by British banks for home purchases hit a four-month high last month, according to industry figures that differed from other signs of weakness in the housing market.

Banks approved 39,244 mortgages in May, up from 38,327 in April but still down more than 4 percent compared with a year ago, seasonally-adjusted figures from trade body UK Finance said on Tuesday.

Britain’s housing market slowed after the 2016 referendum decision to take Britain out of the European Union, especially in London. The vote hit consumer confidence and spending as a fall in the pound that followed that vote pushed up inflation.

Gauges of house price growth remain muted.

UK Finance described modest growth in credit card spending, reflecting a recent boost to retail sales spurred by good weather and celebrations around the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken