First-time buyers remained buoyant in the first quarter of 2017 with the number of mortgage enquiries, applications and completions rising, according to a study by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association’s (IMLA).
More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of first-time buyer mortgage applications were completed in the first quarter of this year, up from less than half (48 per cent) a year earlier.
The average number of enquiries received by intermediaries serving this segment of the market rose from 55 in first quarter in 2016 to 60 in the same period this year.
IMLA's figures were in stark contrast with Bank of England data released this week which showed the number of mortgages approved in the UK fell to a seven-month low in April.
A total of 64,645 mortgages were approved last month compared to 66,043 in March, adding to signs that the housing market is slowing.
Meanwhile, consumer credit in April rose by £1.52bn down from an increase of £1.61bn in March.
Peter Williams, executive director of IMLA, said: “First-time buyers’ struggles have been highly publicised, with affordability stretched by rising house prices and modest income growth. However, rising levels of mortgage enquiries, applications and completions shows that a significant number of first-time buyers are still both willing and able to get a foot on the property ladder.
“Low mortgage rates have contributed to this improving outlook for first-time mortgage borrowers. However, with the Bank of England reporting that average rates are creeping up on the higher loan-to-value (LTV) products that buyers with modest deposits rely on, policymakers must continue to do their upmost to support lending to this part of the market."