Mortgage approvals fell and net mortgage lending slowed for the second month running in September, pointing to further weakness in the housing market, Bank of England figures showed on Monday.
However, net unsecured lending to consumers rose to its highest since February, though this will do little to alter the picture of weak consumer demand as Britons feel the pinch from soaring inflation, weak wage growth and darkening economic outlook.
The Bank of England said mortgage approvals numbered 50,967 in September, down from 52,347 in August, and broadly in line with analysts' forecasts for a reading of 50,600. That was still well below the pre-crisis long run average of around 90,000.
Net mortgage lending also weakened, to rise by 0.3 billion pounds in September from 0.5 billion in August, half the amount forecast by analysts.
Unsecured lending, however, rose by 0.6 billion pounds -- above expectations for a 0.4 billion increase.
Separate figures showed growth in the BoE's preferred money supply gauge -- M4 excluding intermediate other financial corporations -- eased to 0.2 percent on the month from 0.4 percent in August.
Headline M4 broad money supply fell by 0.4 percent on the month for a 1.7 percent annual decline -- the steepest yearly fall since January 2011.
Consumers have been reluctant to take on more credit for major purchases as bank lending conditions are relatively tight and uncertainty over jobs is weighing on sentiment.
However, some economists have suggested that a growing number of people may be forced to resort to borrowing to meet their daily living costs.
Official data last week showed Britons ramped up their savings to their highest rate in a year between April and June, with a saving ratio of 7.4 percent.