Approvals for mortgages for UK house purchases fell sharply in December according to a survey by UK Finance, the industry body made of up the former British Bank Association and Council of Mortgage Lenders.
The rate of approvals dropped 21% in December from the previous month - with 36,115 mortgages granted, down from November's 39,007 and missing the consensus forecast of 39,700.
"The deterioration in consumers’ confidence, driven by the squeeze on real incomes and the November interest rate hike, has taken a heavy toll on the mortgage market," said Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
He added: "Approvals by the main high street banks fell in December to their lowest level since January 2015.
"So far, the Chancellor’s reforms to stamp duty for first-time buyers in the November Budget have not reinvigorated the market.
"Indeed, new buyer enquiries fell sharply in December, according to RICS, indicating that mortgage approvals will continue to trend down in early 2018."