The number of new loans to homebuyers – a key guide to future housing demand – fell 31% year on year last month, according to the latest data from the British Bankers Association. Financial Times, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent

But overall mortgage lending in January rose slightly, boosted by re-financings.

The BBA, which represents about two-thirds of the UK mortgage market, said net lending – borrowing less repayments – rose by £5.2bn, compared with an increase of £4.9bn in December and in line with the trend of the previous six months.

The number of loans extended was inflated by a sharp rise in re-mortgaging – up 39% year on year – at £79bn, up from £67.5bn in December. House re-mortgages accounted for 49% of all approvals. BBA data show that re-mortgages have risen sharply and steadily from September.

New loans for equity withdrawal and other purposes have fallen year on year by 23.6% but at less than the rate at which new mortgage approvals are declining. Some 39,999 of these loans were approved in January, up from 37,867 in December.