Mortgage approvals in the United Kingdom rose to the highest level in 15 months in a further sign that the property slump there is abating.

Banks granted 50,123 home loans in July, compared with 47,891 in June, the Bank of England said Tuesday.

Recent reports showed house prices rising as cheaper homes and borrowing costs lured buyers, banks became more willing to lend and hints that the recession is ending boosted confidence.

"We've seen a steady upward grind in mortgage approvals in the last six months," said Philip Shaw, the chief economist at Investec Securities in London. "One would hope they will continue to increase. While the recovery is welcome in the housing market, we are suspicious that prices are going to carry on rising."

The Bank of England expects a slow recovery in the housing market as unemployment, now at a 14-year high, keeps climbing long after the recession has ended.

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