Mortgage market starts year with steep decline

The mortgage market started the year on the back foot with lending diving by 13% in January, figures showed today.

A total of £9.2 billion was advanced during the month, down from £10.6 billion in December and the lowest level since February last year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The fall is likely to have been partly caused by the severe winter weather during December, which prevented potential buyers from going out house hunting.

But it also reflects the current subdued state of the market, as a combination of high deposits required by lenders and the uncertain outlook for the housing market and the wider economy suppresses demand.

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