Mortgage approvals slow............
The number of mortgages being granted by Britain's banks has fallen by 16% over the last year - the latest sign of a slowdown in the housing market.
According to the banking industry body the BBA, in October home-buyers had 37,076 mortgages approved - the lowest figure for 17 months.The value of those mortgages fell 13% over the year to just over £6bn.
Separately the Halifax predicted that house price inflation will moderate to as little as 3% next year. The figures from the BBA show that mortgage approvals peaked at 48,649 in January this year. "The BBA data adds to now pretty widespread and compelling evidence that the housing market has come well off the boil," said Howard Archer, the chief UK and European economist with IHS Global Insight.
However other experts predicted that mortgage lending will soon return to growth. "With mortgage rates falling to new record lows, the economy set for robust growth and uncertainty over leverage ratios lifting, conditions for a gradual recovery in lending are favourable," said a note from Capital Economics.
At the same time the Halifax - part of the Lloyds Banking Group - has predicted a significant slowdown in house price inflation next year. It expects prices to rise by between 3% and 5% during 2015. At their peak, in July this year, house prices were rising by 10%. It said that a rise in interest rates next year is likely to weaken house prices. And it predicted that prices would be affected by uncertainty over the general election in May.
There have already been suggestions that Labour's suggestion of a mansion tax is hitting the value of properties in London worth more than £2m