Page last updated at 16:24 GMT, Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Fall in range of mortgage deals

For Sale signs
The choice of mortgage deals for home buyers is now much smaller

The shortage of funds in the banking system has seen the number of different types of mortgage deals fall by almost two-thirds since the summer of 2007.

Figures from the financial information service Moneyfacts show that since last July the number of mortgage deals on offer has fallen from 15,599 to 5,725.

The biggest shrinkage has been among sub-prime and buy-to-let mortgages.

The change has been accompanied by lenders demanding bigger deposits and raising interest rates on some deals.

Some lenders such as small building societies have become much fussier about to whom they will lend.

This has gone hand-in-hand with a slump in demand from would-be borrowers who have been priced out of the market by years of rising prices.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reported two weeks ago that the number of new mortgages being taken out by home buyers was at its lowest level for nine years.

Subdued

The near collapse of the Northern Rock, which was the UK's biggest mortgage lender in the first half of last year, has recently seen it encouraging its borrowers to move their loans elsewhere.

And the number of new mortgages being approved by all lenders, but not yet lent, is also running at its lowest level since 1995.

So it seems that the property market will be subdued this year in terms of both transactions and also prices.

According to Moneyfacts, the number of sub-prime deals has slumped by 81% to just 1,798.

The number of loans available to buy-to-let landlords has also gone down sharply, falling by 60% to 1,444.

Ordinary house buyers have also been hit. Mortgages greater than 100% of a property's value have disappeared and those bigger than 95% are much harder to come by.

Some of the biggest lenders, such as the Cheltenham & Gloucester, are now demanding that borrowers put down deposits worth at least 10% of a property's value.




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