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   Mortgage lending same as 1995, Bank of England says        Dated: 29/07/2008

                 

UK Mortgage approvals fell to their lowest ever level in June as demand continued to decline, with the value of mortgage lending also shrinking substantially.

Statistics from the Bank of England today showed approvals for house purchases fell to just 36,000, a record low since 1999, while the value of the lending shrunk to 5 billion from 5.8 billion in May.

The number of approvals has almost halved from the previous six month average of 62,000, and is a further sign of the deteriorating housing market as consumer confidence evaporates and banks rein in on their lending.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' chief economist, Simon Rubinsohn, said: 'The latest numbers from the Bank of England demonstrate in the clearest possible way the consequences of the credit crunch for the residential property market.'

Rubinsohn said: 'a lack of availability of mortgage finance had caused the decline in the volume of mortgage approvals, which represented a fall of close to 70% compared with the same month last year'.

As well as lending for house purchases, the number and value of approvals for re-mortgaging and other purposes also reduced, with net lending secured on dwellings falling to 3.1 billion. The figure was down from 3.8 billion in May and under half the previous six-month average of 6.3 billion.

The increase in consumer credit lending to individuals also slowed, with net credit card lending growing by just 400 million, below May's increase.

The total rise in net consumer credit of 900 million was less than May's rise of 1.3 billion and was well below the six-month average increase of 1.2 billion.

Rubinsohn added: 'Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that the high street appears under increasing pressure with consumers scaling back purchases of a range of household goods.

'Unless the authorities take steps to restart the mortgage market, the likelihood is that there will be more bad news in store for both the housing market and the retail sector during the latter part of the year.'

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