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Loans to first-time buyers at highest level since 2007

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Mortgage lending to first-time buyers reached a six year high in the second quarter of the year, according to figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

The CML said 25,300 people took out their first mortgage in June, a 30% increase on June 2012.

It said the strength of first-time buyer activity in May and June meant quarterly lending to first-time buyers was at its highest since 2007.

Elsewhere, the report found first-time buyers continued to increase the amount they borrowed – with an average loan size of £117,000 in June up from £112,500 in May. As a result the value of loans offered to first-time buyers totalled £3.5bn – an increase of 9% compared to May and 40% on June last year.

The CML said this is likely to be associated with the growth in house prices in recent months – in June 34% bought a home less than £125,000, down from 37% in May.

First-time buyers accounted for 46% of all house purchase loans in June, which was up from 44% in May and considerably higher than the 38% seen on average since 2007.

Ben Thompson, managing director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “It is clear from these figures that the market is starting to re-build from the bottom up, something which we consider to be a very healthy state.

“Despite the good news, there is still more to be done. The shortage of new houses being built needs to be tackled, which will also help to control house price growth. Furthermore, stamp duty remains a barrier to both entering and moving up the property ladder. Once we see an improvement in these areas, more borrowers will be able to take advantage of the great mortgages on the market.”

Oliver Atkinson, director of the online estate agency Urban Sales and Lettings, said: “If first-time buyers are the engine of the housing market, the turbocharger has just kicked in.

“They have become the star performers of the mortgage landscape, and could soon account for half of all house purchase loans.

“This figure is being stoked in part by the Help to Buy scheme and steadily improving buyer sentiment.

“But the main reason that so many would-be buyers are getting off the fence is the sense that the housing and mortgage stars are finally aligned.

“House prices – even in regions hit hardest by the slump – have moved from stagnation to stability and even steady growth. And mortgages are cheaper and more available than ever.”