Home loan numbers down

Would-be buyers are "struggling to meet the criteria needed to get a mortgage"

House sale lending fell seven per cent in March, according to e.surv chartered surveyors.

Approvals fell from 51,653 to 48,200, the third consecutive month in which house purchase lending has fallen, reversing the five consecutive months of increases in lending between July and December 2012.

“The mortgage market is beginning to regress," said Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors. "One month could be a blip. Two months could be coincidence. But three consecutive months of falls in house purchase lending indicates the market has gone into reverse gear.”

He blamed the decline on the strictness of lending criteria and a general lack of desire to move home at the moment because of a weak growth of wages and rising house prices.

“The biggest roadblock barring the way for would-be buyers is tight criteria on mortgages," said Sexton. "Although there is a wider range of mortgages on the market, lots of would-be buyers are struggling to meet the criteria needed to get a mortgage. Cheaper rates and a wider choice of mortgages may look positive, but they are irrelevant if lending criteria remain prohibitively tight.”