Mortgage lending slumped to 12.4bn during January - that is 52% below the same time last year.

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The figure was also 8% down on December.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders said total of 12.4bn was advanced by the major mortgage lenders during January.

The group said there was normally a slight decline in lending levels between December and January.

But it added that the figure was the lowest monthly level recorded since April 2001.