Mortgage approvals perked up in July as figures reveal 41,587 mortgages got the nod from lenders last month. This was an increase of 1,202 mortgages when compared to the 40,385 that were approved in June. It also represented a high point for the last five months. Compared with the figures recorded in July last year, it also meant there was a rise of 9% in mortgage approvals for July 2017. Further information on the marketplace, including data gleaned from building societies, will give a greater picture when it is published on 30th August by the Bank of England. A steady picture for the first six months of 2017 continues â€œItâ€™s too early to speculate over whether mortgage approvals will continue to hold up strongly for the rest of 2017, but these figures are certainly encouraging,â€ said Darren Pescod, CEO of The Mortgage Broker Ltd. â€œData shows the market is still seeing a good number of first-time buyers purchasing properties. However, the lack of properties on the market is proving difficult for those who are looking to move.â€ Despite the rise in mortgages approved last month, gross mortgage lending remained at around Â£23 billion. The amount of gross mortgage borrowing specifically for high street lenders was recorded as Â£13.2 billion last month, which just edged ahead of the Â£13.1 billion seen in June. This represented a rise of 5% compared to the same point last year. These figures apply only to banks, and not to building societies, so the full picture will not be known until the end of the month. But it does give some insight in the state of the marketplace at present, and perhaps some idea of how the rest of the year may pan out. Some parts of UK saw greater lending than others â€“ although most were on the rise The picture was interesting wherever you looked, but some areas of the UK were notable for the growth they showed. For example, first-time buyers in Scotland were responsible for driving the greatest amount of growth in 10 years. First-timers borrowed Â£1.1 billion in 2017â€™s second quarter, which was an increase of 29% compared to the first quarter this year. With Â£2.5 billion borrowed by all Scottish home buyers across the second quarter of 2017, this represented an impressive 35% when compared to the previous quarter. It was also up 18% compared to the same time last year. â€œSome parts of the country are seeing a bigger rise in mortgage activity when compared to last year,â€ Darren Pescod added. â€œLow interest rates and better affordability in Scotland compared with many areas elsewhere in the UK places the Scottish marketplace in a very good position going forward. However, we have also seen encouraging figures in other areas â€“ some of which might surprise some. London home buyers borrowed 11% more in the second quarter compared to the first, for instance.â€ It will be interesting to see how things progress as we dive deeper into the second half of 2017.