The number of approved mortgages fell for the seventh consecutive month in December, according to the Bank of England.
its figures show the number of approved mortgages fell from 81,000 in November to 73,000 in December while remortgaging rates rose from 96,000 to 97,000.
The value of approved mortgages rose from £8bn in November to £8.6bn last month, but fell below the six-month average.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) comments: "These sharply lower figures are consistent with the negative sentiment expressed by Chartered Surveyors.
"The combination of reduced loan to value ratios and the more discriminating policy of lenders is clearly having an impact on the availability of finance for property purchases.
"There a few signs of immediate relief on this front and those attempting to get on the property ladder are likely to find the environment challenging for the foreseeable future."
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