By Daniel Hunter

The British Bankers' Association (BBA) have said that the number of mortgage approvals for house purchases hit a two-year high in January ahead of the withdrawal of a stamp duty concession.

The data released by the BBA showed that there were 38,092 approvals during the month.

This reflects a move by some first-time buyers to enter the market before the tax is levied again.

"January saw the high street banks approve more mortgages for house purchase than of late, despite low household confidence, as some people try to complete transactions before the stamp duty holiday ends in March," said the association's statistics director David Dooks.

"Demand for unsecured personal borrowing remains low as consumers continue to repay debt."

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