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Friday, 26 May, 2000, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
UK mortgage lending falls
For sale sign
For Sale signs may stay up longer than they used to
Mortgage lending by UK banks has fallen in April, further strengthening the belief that the housing market has peaked.

Gross mortgage lending fell in April to 5.8bn from 6.5bn in the previous month, the British Bankers' Association (BBA) said.

The Bank of England has raised interest rates twice this year already and many believe higher interest rates are now deterring potential housebuyers.

However, the BBA's director general Tim Sweeney said the slowdown in lending can be attributed to the strong figures seen in March and the shorter month of April.

Other lenders say that there is less demand for mortgages. The Council of Mortgage Lenders has said that lending to house buyers fell to 6.6bn in April from 7.1bn in March.

Consumers borrow less

Generally, consumers seem to be borrowing less.

Gross lending on personal loans totalled 2.449bn in April, down from March's peak of 3.1bn but still 11% higher than a year ago.

However net lending was lower on the year. It was 246m in April, compared with 274m last year, the BBA said.

Consumers also appear to be more reluctant to get the plastic card out.

Gross lending on credit cards was 4.538bn in April, compared with 5bn in March.

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