Bank of England
The Bank of England cut its base rate to 0.25%, an all-time low, after the vote for BrexitGareth Fuller/ PA

The number and value of mortgage approvals rose in October despite concerns around affordability for first-time buyers, Brexit uncertainty, and a slowdown at the top of the market linked to recent take hikes.

According to the Bank of England, there were 67,518 loan approvals for house purchase during the month, up from 63,594 in September and above the six-month running average of 63,914. The value of mortgage approvals in October was £12bn ($15bn), up from £11.2bn in September.

Remortgaging activity also grew in October. There were 43,513 remortgaged loans worth £7.6bn during the month, up from 42,606 and £7.4bn in September. Mortgage lending has been supported by ultra-low interest rates and schemes to support struggling first-time buyers, such as Help to Buy and shared ownership.

"The strong October mortgage approvals data for house purchases underlines how Brexit has actually spurred people into action rather than driven them away from property," said Mark Dyason, director of Edinburgh Mortgage Advice, a broker.

"People are aware that rates have never been better and at the same time are uncertain about what's coming next politically. As a result, they're moving now rather than risk getting their plans skewered by some other major development in 2017."

House prices have risen sharply in recent years, particularly in London and the South East where there is an ongoing housing shortage, at a time when incomes have fallen for many people, shutting aspiring homeowners out of the market.

London house prices are now on average 14.2 times earnings, the highest on record and the biggest multiple of anywhere in the UK, according to the Hometrack UK Cities Index for October 2016.

Soon after the UK voted to leave the European Union in a referendum on 23 June, the Bank of England cut its base rate in half to 0.25%, a new all-time low, to support the economy amid the economic and political uncertainty.

As a result, mortgage costs have fallen further, underpinning lending. Britain will formally begin its two-year Brexit process when it invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. The government has signalled this will take place by March 2017.

At the top of the property market, however, demand has slowed since 2014 following a series of tax hikes on expensive and investment property, including a significant rise in stamp duty for the priciest homes, which has clipped transactions.