New figures from mortgage lenders show 32% fall in total loans during January

Mortgage lending slumped to a 10-year low in January, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

Total mortgage advances plunged 32% during the month to hit £9.1bn, the lowest level since February 2000. The figure for January was 21% down on a year earlier.

A drop in lending is common in January because of the effect of Christmas in delaying housebuyers' plans, but this year's fall was larger than usual.

The CML attributed this to the end of the UK government's stamp duty holiday. This apparently caused those buying cheaper homes to rush through the purchase before the end of 2009, causing a surge in lending during December.