Mortgage lending fell for a second successive month in February, the Bank of England has confirmed. Its figures back earlier data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the British Bankers Association.

The Bank of England figures show that 51,653 house purchase mortgages were granted in February, the lowest number since last September. The figure was down on the Bank’s revised figure of 54,187 for January, and was less than had been predicted for February. Economists had forecast a fall to 53,700, according to a panel of estimates by Bloomberg. However, remortgage lending in February increased by 3.8% to 26,771, said the Bank of England.

Paul Broadhead, BSA head of mortgage policy, said: “Building societies and other mutual lenders continued to show their commitment to UK home buyers in February. Both gross and net mortgage lending rose in a market where lending by other institutions remained weak”.

“We welcome the Government’s renewed focus on the challenges faced by people looking to buy for the first time or move home, but it is a shame that the Help to Buy guarantee is needed. If all lenders acted to help first-time buyers and other creditworthy borrowers with smaller deposits, as mutuals have done consistently over the last year and more, this intervention would not be needed".

"Around one in three mortgages from BSA members are already to first-time buyers, many at higher loan to value ratios. The sector is in a strong position to lend in 2013.”