Mortgage lending “weaker” in March

Home loan approvals were “marginally weaker” in March than in February, while consumer credit levels remained relatively unchanged, according to new data.

Figures from the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) have revealed that gross mortgage lending reached £8.9 billion last month, taking it to its lowest level since April 2001.

And remortgaging activity also fell as borrowers reverted to variable rates instead of changing to a fixed-rate deal when agreements came to an end – possibly as a debt management plan.

“It would be unrealistic to expect the mortgage market to recover in a steady and consistent way in the current economic environment,” commented BBA statistics director David Dooks.

However, credit card debt rose by £0.3 billion during the month, bringing the annual growth rate to 8.5 per cent.

Recently, the Trends in Lending report from the Bank of England noted that the availability of home loans has been “sharply reduced” since the onset of the credit crunch, particularly for those with poor credit records.

By Jamie Price

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