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UK banks approve fewest mortgages since April 2013: BBA

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British banks approved 35,667 mortgages for house purchase in December, the lowest number since April 2013, as the housing market continued to slow, the British Bankers' Association said on Tuesday.

[LONDON] British banks approved 35,667 mortgages for house purchase in December, the lowest number since April 2013, as the housing market continued to slow, the British Bankers' Association said on Tuesday.

Mortgage approvals for house purchase fell from 36,657 in November, 24 per cent down from the same time a year ago.

Still, the BBA said that for 2014 as a whole, the number of house purchase approvals was 9 per cent higher than the previous year.

"The mortgage market has been softening since the spring, but for customers taking out home loans right now there are some great deals and we expect the market to begin to grow again this year," said Richard Woolhouse, chief economist at the BBA.

Unsecured consumer credit lending is picking up strongly, growing at an annual rate of 3.8 per cent - the highest rate for six years.

"Robust employment data is making many of us feel more secure in our jobs and optimistic about our futures," said Mr Woolhouse.

"That's now feeding through to personal lending and credit card data, suggesting people are happy to finally replace the car or spend on household improvements."

REUTERS