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Average house prices will fall in the months ahead, only rising again next year, experts have warned following Bank of England figures that showed a fall in the number of mortgage loans being granted. It is the lowest total since March and significantly down on a 25-month high in January, Bank of England figures showed. At the beginning of this year, lenders and estate agents reported a rush of first-time buyers trying to beat a two-year stamp duty exemption deadline, which ended in March. There were 58,728 loan approvals for house purchase in January, and lenders have said that the deadline had the effect of bunching up sales which would have otherwise happened later this year. Lenders are expected to continue a trend seen in recent months of tightening their borrowing criteria and raising their mortgage rates amid the weak economy and the ongoing eurozone crisis, making it tougher for people to take out a mortgage. Young ITEM Club, said the mortgage shortage would create downward pressure on house prices.