Banks’ mortgage lending falls

 
Julian Harris
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MORTGAGE approvals dropped by six per cent in April, according to figures from Britain’s leading high street banks.

Approvals fell to 29,355, down from 31,205 in March, while gross mortgage lending was five per cent lower than the same time last year, the British Banking Association (BBA) said. The average price of houses purchased with mortgages came in at £145,100, a drop of 1.1 per cent from a year earlier.

“And demand for unsecured borrowing remains at a weak level,” the report said.

“Individuals and businesses continue to save more, pay off debt and borrow less as uncertainty about the economy has entrenched a ‘wait and see’ attitude,” explained the BBA’s statistician David Dooks.

Repayments from individuals outweighed new loans by £181m, the figures revealed.

Lending to non-financial companies dropped by a further £500m in April, following a far sharper fall of £3.2bn in March.

Lending to business has declined by an average of £1.3bn over the past six months.

“The further, albeit small, drop in net lending does little to dilute concerns that tight credit conditions remain a significant handicap to economic activity, particularly for smaller companies,” commented Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight.