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Dramatic decline in mortgage enquiries as consumer confidence plunges

The figures reveal a significant decline, almost 50%, in the numbers of buyers looking to take out new mortgages between March 2004 and the end of August.

Moneynet data shows that 37,000 people made mortgage enquiries through the service at the beginning of March, a period of intense activity in the housing market.

But by the end of last month those enquiry levels had plummeted to just 20,000, as the impact of five successive base rate rises began to impact on buyer&#39s confidence.

As the Bank of England recently revealed that the number of mortgage approvals fell by 14%, from 112,000 down to 97,000, the biggest slump since the depths of the property recession in 1993, Moneynet chief executive Richard Brown warned that the fall off in enquiry levels was hard evidence of a sharp slowdown in the UK&#39s formerly robust property market and would ultimately impact further on mortgage approvals.

Brown says: “The figures speak for themselves, we had anticipated a tailing off in enquires in the wake of faltering consumer confidence, but getting on for a 505 drop suggests it is going to be a difficult autumn period, particularly for those trying to sell property.

“And as Nationwide this week revealed that house price rises have all but ground to a halt in many areas with price falls in some former hotspots, Moneynet figures also show a fall in the average property values: the average house price fell from a peak of £207,000 in May, to just £196,000 in August, also suggesting that sellers were struggling to get higher asking prices.

“House price falls go hand in hand with a fall off in enquiries for new mortgages.”

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