Lending rate falls encouraging

The recent drops in lending rates and relaxation of criteria – allowing credit at higher loan-to-values (LTV) – from Barclays, Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks is "encouraging", it has been suggested.

MoneySupermarket.com head of mortgages Louise Cuming expressed her hope that other lenders may take a lead from the financial institutions.

The news may be of interest to those thinking of carrying out a home improvement to make their property more desirable when the market begins to recover.

Ms Cuming explained while the news was positive, "two storks do not make a summer".

"There have been some great deals on mortgages around recently, but by and large the eligibility criteria have restricted them to people looking to borrow at low LTV, which is of little help to many existing borrowers," Ms Cuming said.

She praised the financial institutions for setting an example and suggested more would need to follow if a trend is to be established.

It comes as an Unbiased.co.uk poll found council tax has overtaken fuel duty in the most-hated payment stakes.