The number of mortgages being approved is now at a record low and almost half the rate of 12 months ago, according to new research from the Bank of England.

April saw just 58,000 new mortgages were approved, 8% down on last month. This number is at the lowest since comparable records began in 1999. Mortgage approvals are expected to slump further due to the credit crunch and the reluctance to lend money.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors have warned that property sales this year would fall by between 35% and 40%. Their chief economist, Simon Rubinsohn said: “Lenders are continuing to tighten up on the conditions accompanying new loans making it hard for first-time buyers to take advantage of the modest fall in house prices seen over the part few months.”