LONDON (Reuters) – British banks approved fewer mortgages last month than in November and the value of lending for home purchases rose by the smallest amount since 2016, an industry survey showed on Friday.

Seasonally-adjusted data from the UK Finance industry body showed banks approved 38,779 mortgages last month. While up more than 6 percent on a year ago, this was down from 39,205 in November.

The value of net mortgage lending increased by 1.235 billion pounds, the smallest rise since August 2016.

The figures largely add to signs of a slowdown in Britain’s housing market ahead of Brexit.

Last week the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said its members had the most negative outlook for house sales over the coming three months since its records began in 1999.

UK Finance also said it saw signs that businesses were building up cash reserves, particularly in the construction and retail sectors, in preparation for uncertain trading conditions.

With little time left until Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, there is no agreement in London on how it should exit the world’s biggest trading bloc, and a growing chance of a ‘no-deal’ exit with no provision to soften the economic shock.

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