Jump in first-time buyers!

Exciting, exciting, exciting! And then: Scary, scary, scary. Possibly the initial thoughts of most first-time buyers. But it seems that those first thoughts of enthusiasm are trumping anxiety as mortgages for this group has increased by 20 per cent.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reported a total of 19,100 home loans worth £2.4bn were advanced to new buyers during the March, up from 15,900 in February, which is a 20 per cent increase.

So, have rumbles of discontent about the economy petered off? Well, that’s maybe wishful thinking, but it does seem that banks and building societies are more willing to stump up for loans recently. In the past few weeks there’s been a flurry of mortgage rate cuts by lenders, including on higher loan-to-value deals, which seems to suggest first-time buyers are being tempted to take those first tentative steps towards becoming… (gulp)… a homeowner.

There’s also been the introduction of the government’s new Help to Buy scheme to assist those with small deposits and an extension of the Funding for Lending scheme, designed to offer cheap funds to lenders. It seems this confidence in credit supplies is encouraging lenders to feel more secure about supporting first-time buyers, who in turn are more secure about taking the mortgage plunge.

Richard Sexton, director of chartered surveyors e.surv, said the CML’s figures were “the most encouraging signs yet of a genuine recovery in the housing market.

“Many more borrowers are now able to get a look-in thanks to rock bottom rates, easing criteria, and a much wider choice of mortgages.”

Do you need advice on getting onto the property ladder? Read more information on buying a home.