Mortgage approvals in february dropped to their lowest levels since June 2011 according to latest figures from the Bank of England.
Home loan approvals were down to around 49,000 in February compared to around 58,000 in the previous month. The drop came in spite of widespread predictions that a rush of first-time buyers seeking to beat the end to the stamp duty holiday on the 24th of March would boost lending levels.
The fall in approvals may be as a result of a number of factors such as the tightening of lending criteria for mortgages and continued pressure on household budgets.
The Co-op bank today became the latest in a series of high street banks to announce plans to raise their standard variable mortgage rate, the interest rate that many mortgage deals revert to once the special offer period is over. Other banks including Halifax and Clydesdale and Yorkshire have also announced a rise in their standard variable rates on mortgages that they provide.