Mortgage lending at 16-year low

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Mortgage lending has fallen by 12 per cent in a month, new figures have revealed.

Statistics from the Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML) show that Britons borrowed £21.8 billion to purchase homes during August - 12 per cent less that in the previous month and 36 per cent down on August 2007.

Michael Coogan, CML director general, explained that the figures were a reflection of the uncertainty ruling the housing markets.

"Lenders are uncertain about future sources of funding and the cost of funding, while consumers are unsure about how much further and for how long house prices will continue to decline," he added.

Mortgage lending tends to peak in the summer and the Times has speculated that the major fall in August reflects the lack of confidence about financial security among households.

Recent troubles in the mortgage markets could push the cost of borrowing, which has fallen in recent weeks, back up again, said Eamonn Rice, chief executive of

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