Mortgage approvals at 1-1/2 year low

People view properties advertised for sale in the window of an estate agent in west London January 2, 2009. REUTERS/Stephen Hird

LONDON (Reuters) - Mortgage approvals fell to their lowest in more than 1-1/2 years in October, according to figures from the British Bankers’ Association on Tuesday, in a sign that house prices will continue weakening.

The BBA said banks approved 30,766 loans for home purchase last month, down from 31,058 in September -- the lowest since March 2009, the depths of the recession.

House prices started picking up towards the end of last year, but the recovery has been losing steam since mid-2010 as tight credit and uncertainty about the economic outlook has weighed on people’s ability to buy.

The BBA said net mortgage lending rose by 1.719 billion pounds last month, up from 1.529 billion pounds in September, but down from 2.991 billion pounds in October 2009.