LONDON Mortgage approvals in Britain were 1.2 percent lower on the year in March, numbering 31,227, seasonally adjusted data from the British Bankers' Association showed on Wednesday.
Net mortgage lending shrank by 328 million pounds last month.
The BBA said the government's Funding for Lending Scheme had made the mortgage market more competitive.
BBA statistics director David Dooks said: "The Funding for ending Scheme has made the mortgage market more competitive, allowing smaller institutions to offer attractive rates. But nevertheless the main high street banks still provide 60 percent of new mortgage borrowing.
"Mortgage approvals edged up back to levels of a year ago and the prospect of more first-time buyers entering the market during 2013 is likely to help mortgage chains in due course.
"However, economic uncertainty and subdued confidence