Mortgage lending falls

Total mortgage advances fell by 5 per cent to £11.1bn during November, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Lending during November was also 10 per cent down on the £12.3bn that was advanced in the same month of 2009.

The CML said the fall reflected the distortion caused in 2009 by the looming end of the stamp duty holiday, which saw deals to buy properties costing up to £175,000 rushed through before the end of the year.

The CML's chief economist Bob Pannell said: "The fall in gross mortgage lending in November reflects the usual seasonal slowing of activity at this time of year, and reinforces the picture of a continuing flat market.

"Comparisons with the year earlier are somewhat distorted, as some households brought forward house purchase activity into the closing months of 2009 to take advantage of the stamp duty concession. But both demand for mortgage borrowing and the supply of funds for lending remain heavily constrained."

Meanwhile, figures from the Bank of England showed that only 45,000 mortgages were approved by the major banks during November. The figure was slightly up on the 44,000 approvals seen in October and September, but was still 26 per cent down on November last year.