The number of appointed representative mortgage firms has crept up 2.1 per cent in the six months to the end of September, according to figures from the FSA.
In March 2012 there were 2,383 AR firms operating in the market compared to 2,434 at the end of September.
At its peak there were 5,123 AR firms operating in the market.
The number of directly authorised mortgage firms holding mortgage permission in the market also experienced slight growth.
There are now 5,055 firms operating in the market, up from 5,007 in March, a 0.9 per cent increase.
In total, the number of firms having mortgages as their primary category is currently 1,394, the same as in March 2012.
At its peak in January 2006, there were 3,553 firms with mortgages as their primary category of authorisation.
Association of Mortgage Intermediaries chief executive Robert Sinclair says: “It really looks like a corner has been turned. In a world that still lacks good news, this is a small beacon that indicates we have reached the bottom and started to climb back up the slope.
“Ami is predicting a bigger market with larger broker share in 2013 and it looks like businesses are beginning to invest to be part of that growth. Our membership numbers also continue to grow. As we now have certainty over the MMR, the position of brokers in the mortgage market with their focus on high quality advice has to be the benchmark that all aspire to.”
Coreco Group director Andrew Montlake says: “We need a healthy mortgage market so these figures are encouraging. As the market starts to improve you are bound to get more people coming back to it.
“It is only a small jump but it is promising and over the next few years, we can expect to see the figures creep up further. If the number of firms having mortgages as their primary category does return to the peak figure last seen in 2006, it won’t be for a while, but I predict similar growth will be seen next year.”