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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.”

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Hanging onto the ladder for dear life

The latest news from housing charity Shelter says the boom in house prices since 1998 means many first-time buyers have been unable to get on the property ladder. I didn’t see that coming.

Dear Delia

Dave is an experienced buy-to-let investor who sees opportunities in the current market to grow his portfolio. He has agreed to buy a discounted property in a private sale and the vendor wishes to complete as quickly as possible. The agreed purchase price is £200,000 but the property’s true value is £235,000, which he knows valuers will confirm. How can he maximise his borrowing and save his cash for further purchases? Delia says: A bridging loan may be the solution as Stuart Law of Assetz Finance and Steven Marks of Newcastle point out. Have you got a problem for Delia? Email mortgage.strategy@centaur.co.uk

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