Mortgage lending at lowest level for 10 years

Mortgage advances sunk to their lowest level for a decade during 2010 as the lending drought intensified.

A total of just £136.3 billion was lent during the year, the lowest level since 2000, and 5% below 2009's figure, which was the lowest total for nine years, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The group, which is predicting total advances of around £135 billion for 2011, warned that consumer demand could be even weaker than previously expected if inflationary pressures led to an early rise in interest rates.