U.K. mortgage lending drops 26% in December compared with November, due in part to market uncertainty that has left buyers nervous about government spending cuts, higher inflation, rise in sales tax

LONDON , March 11, 2011 () – Mortgage lenders in Britain say they advanced 26 percent less money for house purchases in December than in the previous month, a sharp drop likely due to greater uncertainty in the market.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders, which released the data on Friday, says buyers may have been put off by government spending cuts, higher inflation, a rise in sales tax, extreme winter weather in December and doubts about when interest rates will rise.

The council notes that the January total of 4.2 billion pounds ($5.8 billion) was 13 percent less than a year earlier, which was also an exceptionally quiet month in the mortgage market.

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