14:15 PM, 26th November 2010, About 12 years ago
High street banks lent less on mortgages last month than at any time since February 2001, according to the British Bankers’ Association (BBA).
In total, the high streets banks agreed loans of £7.6 billion – just over 16% down on the same month last year.
House purchase approvals were marginally lower in October at 30,766, reflecting the weak activity in the mortgage market; with the average value of the loans up 2% on a year ago at £144,900.
Remortgaging approval was stronger than the recent six-month average of 22,573 up to 24,112, while equity withdrawal remained weak.
The annual growth in net mortgage lending by the banks was 3.5% in October compared to just 0.8% for the whole of the mortgage market in September.
BBA statistics director David Dooks said: “Activity in the mortgage and consumer credit markets continued to be subdued in October, reflecting uncertain prospects for households and lower consumer confidence.
“Credit availability for viable businesses has improved, so a continued contraction in net lending growth reflects repayment behaviour, particularly by larger companies.”
Meanwhile, the Nationwide Building Society has suggested house prices will continue to fall in the near future.
The lender said potential buyers were being deterred by the uncertainty generated by the government’s public spending cuts.
However it said price falls would not be as great as in 2008 due to low interest rates, which will restrict mortgage arrears and repossessions.
“In the housing market, conditions have weakened noticeably over the last six months, with both a decline in buyer demand and a modest downward trend in house prices,” said the Nationwide’s chief executive Graham Beale.
“We do not expect any change in the Bank of England base rate until late 2011.”
The Nationwide’s own monthly survey showed recently that they had dropped by 3% since June and were only slightly higher than a year ago.
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