The number of mortgage approvals for all types of house purchase has dropped sharply, with a drop of almost 10% in buy-to-let loans.
Approvals for home movers have slid 6% annually to 25,280, while approvals for first-time buyers have dropped for the first time in six months.
Data from banking trade body UK Finance shows there were 28,800 first-time buyer mortgages approved in March, down 2.4% annually, the first time this figure has dropped since last September.
Buy-to-let purchase mortgage approvals fell 9.1% during March.
In contrast, remortgage approvals in both the residential and buy-to-let sector increased.
Commenting on the figures, John Phillips, national operations director at Spicerhaart, said: “The purchasing market has been tough for some time now, and I don’t think it is going to get much better until the wider market forces change, and with no real idea what is going on with Brexit, it is hard to predict when that might happen.
“But with the ongoing threat of a rate rise on the cards, people will be fixing now to avoid any nasty surprises down the line, so this will account for some of the remortgaging rise.”
Paul Smith, chief executive of haart estate agents, said: “Evidently, the demand is there, but mortgage and transaction figures will not increase until we have the stock in the market to match it.”