UK mortgage approvals gained in March as the effect of the worst cold snap in three decades and higher taxes on property sales faded. The number of loans for house purchase granted rose to 52,000 from a nine-month low of 48,000 in February, according to a sample from the Bank of England’s panel of lenders released in London today. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who’s fighting an election campaign ahead of a May 6 poll, said yesterday the housing market is set to “stabilize” as demand from first-time buyers picks up. Central bank policy makers unanimously kept their £200bn ($309bn) bond-purchase plan on hold this month as they assessed the strength of the economic recovery.

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3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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