Mortgage approvals by UK banks slumped to the lowest level in a decade last month, the British Bankers’ Association reported yesterday, illustrating the extent to which tighter lending practices are curbing activity in the housing market. Financial Times, The Independent

The BBA said its members approved 35,417 mortgages for house purchase in March, the lowest since the series began in 1997. The level of approvals had dropped 18% since February and was 46% lower than a year earlier.

The figures are the clearest evidence so far of how lending volumes have been affected by the wave of institutions that tightened lending criteria, raised rates or withdrew mortgage offers in March.