BBA paints bleak March picture

The British Bankers’ Association says new mortgage approvals for house purchases fell 18% in March compared with February.

BBA figures published last week show there were 35,417 new mortgages approved last month, a 46% fall compared with March 2007 and the lowest monthly figure since September 1997.

The total value of mortgages approved for house purchases was 44% lower than in March last year. The BBA adds that all forms of lending are being restricted by the credit crunch.

David Dooks, statistics director for the BBA, says: “The consequences of low liquidity can be seen clearly. Reduced product ranges and tighter criteria have led to slower mortgage lend- ing and fewer approvals.

“Pressures on personal finances are constraining demand not only for mortgages but loans and credit cards too.”