British Bankers Association says falling prices and tighter lending criteria are dampening demand

British mortgage approvals fell to new low in August, down 64% on the same time last year, according to figures from the British Bankers Association.

A total of 21,086 mortgages were signed off last month, compared with 22,239 in July, the BBA said. The number is more than 12,000 less than the average for the previous six months.

Total lending in August rose just £2.1bn, less than half the previous month’s rise, it said.

BBA statistics director David Dooks, said: “Falling property prices, economic pressures on households, tighter lending criteria and anticipation of the government's announcement on stamp duty all suppressed or delayed demand in August and will continue having an impact in the months ahead.”

Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at the RICS, said the news was “not altogether surprising” given the speculation over a possible announcement on stamp duty during August.

He said subsequent government moves to bolster the housing market were “likely to have been overshadowed by concerns stemming from the turmoil in financial markets.”