HBOS, the UK's biggest mortgage lender, has suggested the number of housing transactions could fall as much as 30 per cent this year, piling further pressure on the property market. Financial Times

Mike Ellis, finance director, provided a cautious outlook yesterday, saying HBOS had believed initially that housing transactions would fall 15% in 2008 but more recent data suggested sales could fall 30%.

The bank said UK house prices will be 'at best flat at the end of 2008 and more likely slightly negative' although it does not expect significant falls.

Ellis said HBOS was passing price increases on to its mortgage customers, reflecting the more expensive costs of wholesale funding.