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The number of loan approvals for house purchases was 67,135 in March, compared to the average of 70,363 over the previous six months, figures from the Bank of England show.

Despite many of the lenders offering their lowest ever mortgage rates and borrowers requiring smaller deposits the number of approvals is falling. Part of the reason for the reduction is likely to be the lack of properties coming onto the market and the mortgage lenders preparing for the new regulatory environment.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, told the BBC: "It is likely that the further easing back in mortgage activity in March from January''s peak level reflected some banks raising their mortgage lending standards before the new regulations."

May 2, 2014
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