By Daniel Hunter

Nationwide says its gross mortgage lending fell by nearly £1 billion in the second half of the year.

The UK's largest building society lent £13.1bn in the six months to the end of September, down £900m from the previous half.

It follows new rules introduced in April by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) after the Mortgage Market Review (MMR).

The rules were designed to ensure that borrowers can afford repayments if interest rates were raised.

Nationwide's figures add to the idea that the housing market is slowing down after huge growth this year.

Despite the fall in lending, Nationwide said the housing market "continues to be supported by a strong labour market, low mortgage rates and a demand for housing, which should maintain mortgage quality and prevent any dramatic slowdown in the housing market".

Nationwide also pre-tax profits of £598m during the period, more than double the amount it reported last year.

Graham Beale, Nationwide chief executive, said the lender's core tier 1 ratio - one of the key measures of financial health - was up 17.6%.

"The first six months of this financial year reflect the growing strength of the society and our ability to deliver better service than our banking peers," he said.

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