British mortgage lending hits 16-year low

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The number of mortgages being lent for house purchase in Britain has slumped to its lowest level for 16 years, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

There were just 49,000 loans made to home buyers in February, 3.5% lower than in January and 33% lower in comparison with the same month a year ago, the CML figures show.

The CML's mortgage figures for the three months to February, at a combined number of 163,000, are the lowest for any quarter since early 1992, during the depths of the last recession.

There were just 18,000 loans to first-time buyers in February, the lowest figure since monthly records started in 2002.

The level of first-time lending to home buyers over the past three months is now at its lowest since the first quarter of 1975.

Loans for house purchase made up only 30% of all mortgage lending, the lowest proportion on record, according to the CML.

The CML blamed the credit crunch and said it would restrict lending further. (Xinhua)

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