The amount of people taking out mortgages in the UK has fallen for the first time in a year, according to new figures released.
Data from the Bank of England revealed that there were 70,309 mortgage approvals in February – a sharp fall on January when 76,753 loans were approved.
Until now the number has increased every month since February 2013, but the Bank of England has said that January’s figures had been erratically high – and the fall did not indicate a slow down.
Although analysts had expected a small dip in mortgage approvals in February due to bad weather, a drop of more than 6,000 was not anticipated.
Howard Archer, chief UK economist with IHS Global Insight, said the number of approvals in February was still up by more than 33 per cent on a year ago.
“The dip in approvals does little to dilute the view that the housing market is sustaining robust momentum,” he said.
The Bank of England figures also showed that lending to businesses continued to fall.
UK businesses borrowed £447.5bn in February, a reduction of £0.8bn on January and a fall of 3.7 per cent over the last 12 months.
Since the beginning of this year, the Government’s Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) has been refocused on business loans, in an attempt to stimulate lending.
Through FLS, lenders are able to borrow money at cheap rates, providing they pass the money on to companies or small businesses.