"Shrinking mortgage lending sticks out like a sore thumb when you have continued annual house price growth."
UK-wide mortgage broker One 77 Mortgages has issued a ‘bubble alert’ for 19 towns and cities across England where lending has fallen as prices continue to rise.
Its data shows that Cleveland is way out in front as the gap between the fall in borrowing and rise in prices has reached 11.9%.
Blackburn is the second most vulnerable place to face an affordability crunch with a gap of 6.8% while Blackpool placed third with a gap of 6.2%.
Surprisingly, despite soaring prices only four of the 19 areas were in the South. Truro, Torquay, Plymouth and Dorchester are the only Southern areas to feature with an average drop in lending of 0.5% and price increase of 4%.
The shrinking risk appetite in all these areas could be a result of high valuations and stricter lending criteria impacting how much buyers are able to raise to fund their purchases.
The largest overall fall in lending occurred in Darlington and Sunderland where borrowing fell 1.4%, or £46m and £27.5m respectively.
Alastair McKee, managing director of One 77 Mortgages, said: “Demand is what drives sentiment and sentiment is what drives prices. But somewhere in the middle people still need to borrow.
“It’s a case of mind the gap for buyers in these areas as lending takes a different trajectory to prices.
“Shrinking mortgage lending sticks out like a sore thumb when you have continued annual house price growth.
“In those areas where the two are headed in different directions, this is likely to be the result of first-time buyers beginning to vote with their feet in the face of steep valuations coupled with smaller budgets thanks to stricter lending criteria.
“If opinions about these stretched valuations are starting to feed through into these borrowing numbers then it’s vital purchasers are even more careful not to end up sitting on unnecessary losses.
“Buyers have to be careful that, with interest rates still temptingly low, they don’t jump in with both feet by borrowing too much in a local market that is possibly braced for a fall.”