Slump in UK mortgage lending
UK mortgage loans fell to a nine-month low in February -- despite a drop in lending rates. Newly approved loans to home buyers fell to 47,094, the lowest number since last May, says the Bank of England. That was despite average rates falling to 3.83%. Total lending rose to £11.5bn [US$17.4bn] as remortgaging picked up. Simon Rubinsohn, of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said cold weather may have put off house-hunters but lending should pick up after the Chancellor exempted homes under £250,000 from stamp duty for first-time buyers.