Mortgage approvals to first-time buyers hit highest level in more than a year

Jessica Clark
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New lending to first-time homeowners reached £6.2bn, which is 5.2 per cent more year-on-year (Source: Getty)

The number of first-time buyer mortgage approvals hit 35,500 in August, reaching the highest level in more than a year.

The figure was two per cent more than the previous month and peaked at the highest number since June 2017, according to UK Finance's Mortgage Trends Update.

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New lending to first-time homeowners reached £6.2bn, which is 5.2 per cent more year-on-year.

“Overall house purchase completions remain stable, driven largely by the number of first-time buyers which reached its highest monthly level since June 2017," UK Finance director of mortgages Jackie Bennett said.

“Buy to Let remortgaging saw relatively strong growth in August, due in part to the number of two year fixed deals coming to an end. This suggests that while new purchases in the buy-to-let market continue to be impacted by recent tax and regulatory changes, many existing landlords remain committed to the market.

“However, the homeowner remortgaging market has softened slightly, reflecting the many borrowers who had already locked into attractive deals in the months preceding the Bank of England’s base rate rise.”

Commenting on the figures, Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: "First-time buyers really are proving to be the lifeblood of the housing market, responsible for keeping the number of overall house purchase completions at a stable level.

"Lenders continue to offer competitively-priced high loan-to-value products to attract them and with property prices softening in some areas, there are good opportunities for those trying to get on the ladder for the first time."

Read more: First-time buyers now need a £53k income to buy a house

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