A report by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) has revealed the number of mortgages approved by High Street banks has fallen for the third month running.
Across April, figures for new loan approvals dropped to 42,173, from 45,045 in March, according to the BBA.
The figures peaked in January when more than 48,000 loans were approved but gross mortgage lending – the total amount of money lent out to homeowners – rose to £12.2 billion in April, the highest since August 2008.
“Our figures show that the housing market is mixed,” said Richard Woolhouse, the BBA’s chief economist told the BBC.
“The value of mortgages taken out in April was the highest for six years. However, looking ahead, mortgage approvals have fallen three months in a row,” he said.
Figures suggest increased lending in the first quarter of 2014, but a cooling of activity in the early part of the summer.
The BBA said this may be because of the tightening of lending criteria which was introduced under the Mortgage Market Review (MMR).
Under the MMR, mortgage applicants face tougher questions about their lifestyle to ensure they can afford the mortgage they are applying for.
This may have led to some “bunching” of mortgage activity towards the start of the year.
The BBA said it was therefore too early to say whether the fall in mortgage approvals represented the beginning of a trend, or was a technical response to the MMR.