Demand for home finance has increased by 40% since last summer as more people try to keep their homes, but banks are unable to help, one of the country’s leading home finance executives said yesterday.

Banks and Islamic lenders have tightened their criteria for lending, or simply stopped offering loans. That has turned many people who would otherwise have held on to their property into distressed sellers, a problem economists say is at the heart of the slide in property prices.

Max Hamidi, the chief financial officer at Amlak Finance, said demand for mortgages and Islamic home finance had grown strongly in the past two months, to a level 40% above last summer.

The National