The midweek money pages were relatively quiet following Monday’s coverage of Alistair Darling’s pre-budget report. The Times noted that the British Bankers’ Association said new mortgage approvals by high street banks fell to 21,584 in October, from 23,383 in September. In addition, the Bank of England signalled that interest rates are set to fall further still next week after this month’s 1.5 percentage point reduction to a 54-year low of 3 per cent.
Elsewhere, the Financial Times revealed that although new mortgage approvals were down, the BBA figures showed that total mortgage advances rose by 3 per cent during October to £11.9bn, although this was still 38.2 per cent lower than during the same month last year. There was also a slight increase in the number of loans for people remortgaging, with this rising to 52,425 compared with 51,707 in September. Fixed-rate mortgages are falling, according to the Daily Mail. Abbey has cut some of its best deal and the leading rate is a two-year deal at 4.49pc, with a £995 fee for those with a 40pc deposit.