UK mortgage lending drops

01 June 2006
New figures from the Bank of England suggest that the number and total value of mortgages taken out in the UK decreased during April.

The research found that 106,000 mortgages were approved in April, 8,000 less than March. The net increase in mortgage lending for April was £8.5 billion, which although on track with the year-to-date average, is below the total value of lending in the previous month.

Observers have commented that the figures show that above-inflation house price rises are finally catching up to the market and forcing a slowdown, with first-time buyer demand hit hardest.

"First-time buyers are worst affected by the recent rises in house prices with the average price they pay exceeding £150,000 [and] the average first-time buyer deposit now at around £24,000," said Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat shadow chancellor.

Industry analysts argue that while levels of personal debt continue to rise, this too was showing signs of slowing, as more consumers were becoming wary of entrenching themselves in debts that would become unrecoverable if interest rates were to rise.

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