Homebuilders have called on banks and building societies to ease criteria on mortgages for new-build properties.

John Stewart, the director of economic affairs at the Home Builders’ Federation, said: 'Mortgage availability is the key issue for the housing market and we need to see lenders return to some sensible levels of lending to assist recovery.'

He added: 'Lenders - and the Government, with the influence it now has in the banking sector - need to especially understand the importance of the new-build market to the wider economy and for jobs, and their lending criteria need to reflect this.'

The Times (Sat)