British lenders approved fewer mortgages in April than in March and homeowners made the biggest net repayment of mortgage debt on record excluding the coronavirus pandemic period, data from the Bank of England showed on Thursday.

Lender approved 48,690 new mortgages in April, down from 51,488 in March and fewer than the median forecast of 53,000 in a Reuters poll of economists.

"Borrowing of mortgage debt by individuals continued to decline from net zero in March to 1.4 billion pounds of net repayments in April," the BoE said.

"This is the lowest level on record, if the period since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic is excluded." (Reporting by William Schomberg; editing by David Milliken)