By Daniel Hunter

Mortgage approvals fell 17% in December suggested property sales may continue to fall over the next few months.

The Bank of England said the 60,275 approvals rose slightly from November, but were down 17% from December 2013.

In the first half of 2014, the average number of approvals was 67,203 a month, but that dropped to 61,669 in the second half.

Mortgage approvals are often considered as a good indicator of property sales in the coming months.

"The first rise in mortgage approvals for six months in December reported by the Bank of England supports our suspicion that the weakening in housing market activity may be drawing to a close," said Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight.

"Of course, not too much should be read into one month's data and mortgage approvals are still at a low level."

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