Mortgage Market  Mortgage lending picked up slightly in January, though the start of 2009 also saw a drop in personal saving, new figures from the British Bankers Association (BBA) reveal.

According to the latest report into the state of the UK property market by the professional body, net mortgage lending grew to £2.9 billion for the month, with a total of 23,376 mortgages and 30,710 re-mortgage deals approved by lenders.

Commenting on the slight upturn, David Dooks, director of statistics at the BBA, explained that the growth in demand for home loan products is being driven by a combination of falling interest rates and falling house prices.

"Lower borrowing costs and falling property prices have underpinned demand at high street lenders, who are providing over two-thirds of all new mortgage lending," he stated.

Despite this relative optimism, some property observers fear that further house price falls could be just around the corner, with HIS Global Insight stating that it is "skeptical that this will lead to a marked rise in actual sales anytime soon".

At the same time, the BBA figures show that personal deposits were down in January as consumers steer away from savings accounts offering low interest rates.

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