Mortgage approvals remained close to record lows last month, figures from high street banks showed yesterday, while weaker deposit growth and lower credit card spending pointed to mounting financial strains on households.

The British Bankers’ Association said mortgage approvals by its members for house purchase totalled 22,448 in July, similar to June’s all-time low and 65% below the level a year earlier.

The monthly increase in net lending was steady at £4.3bn, while the average value of loans for house purchase was £138,000, 11.9% below last year’s level, reflecting falling prices and more conservative lending.

In spite of the stabilising of approvals, David Dooks, the BBA’s statistics director, warned activity remained at too low a level to raise hopes of any recovery in the housing market.

Financial Times, The Times