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The number of mortgage applications fell sharply in the final quarter last year as the cost of living is pushing those getting on the housing ladder to get longer mortgages to be able to afford the bills.

The total number of house loans made in 2022 fell by around 15.6% year on year to 813,006, with falls reported for first-time buyers, homemovers and buy-to-let landlords, according to UK Finance.

However, by December the flow of mortgage applications had “dropped away sharply” compared to 2021.

At the same time, the cost of living crisis meant that a greater number of households are borrowing over a longer mortgage term, with the average term for a first-time buyer loans now at around 31 years.