The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) has suggested that poor weather in January caused a reduction in mortgage approvals and impacted borrowers as they continued to play safe on loans and overdrafts. 32,288 mortgages were approved for house purchases during January, which is down on December and 14% lower than January 2012. The end of 2012 had shown a pick-up in the mortgage market, with increased interest from first-time buyers and this coincided with the January figures from HM Revenue and Customs which showed a minor increase in house sales, however buyers would have been looking at properties before January’s bad weather. The slow start to the housing market and mortgage approvals has come as a bit of a shock, as mortgages were supposed to be more readily available via the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending scheme (FLS). David Dooks, the BBA statistics director, said “We would have expected stronger figures because of the excellent mortgage rates now available as a result of the FLS; it goes to show that we remain some way off a sustained recovery in the housing market as caution continues to prevail.” Scottish Widows also published a report on Monday, which claimed that many people were living on a “financial precipice”, with little or no savings to fall back on. Out of 5000 people questioned, 31% of respondents said they were not currently placing any cash aside, suggesting that 2013 might not be the year for first time buyers to secure a mortgage. The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Setfords Solicitors are a national full service law firm, with residential property solicitors in Reading and across the country.