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First-time buyer numbers up 8% in February

Lending to both first-time buyers and home movers increased in February with first-time buyers taking the bigger increase, according to figures released today from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

Some 14,100 loans worth £1.7bn were taken out by first-time buyers, up 8 per cent by number and 6 per cent by value from January and up 18 per cent by number and 21 per cent by value on last February.

Home movers took out 22,500 loans worth £3.7bn, a 2 per cent increase in number and a 3 per cent increase in value from January and a 16 per cent increase in number and 19% increase in value from February 2011.

House purchase lending rose in February – 36,600 loans – worth £5.4bn, were taken out, up 4 per cent by number and 2 per cent by value from January and up 17 per cent by number and 20 per cent by value from February last year.

Remortgaging continued to decrease in February, some £3.3bn was advanced, a 6 per cent fall compared both to January 2012 and February 2011.

For the first time since April 2011, there was an increase in the proportion of income first-time buyers spent on mortgage interest payments, from 12.1 per cent in January to 12.5 per cent in February.

Since the summer of 2011, more than 95 per cent of first-time buyers have taken out repayment loans and February’s proportion was 96 per cent, unchanged from January.

Repayment loans to new home movers and remortgagors also increased in February from 81 per cent to 82 per cent for home movers and from 76 per cenrt to 77 per cent for those remortgaging.

Some 51 per cent of first-time buyers bought properties priced between £125,000 and £250,000 in February, up from 49 per cent in January.

February was the last full month of the Stamp Duty concession although next month’s data is expected to bring a further rise in first-time buyer numbers as they moved to beat the 24 March deadline.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, says: “It is encouraging to see the continuing year-on-year improvement in house purchase lending.

“However it is not yet clear whether the end of the stamp duty concession will lead to a falling off in first-time buyer numbers and how much this may be offset by the government’s NewBuy scheme, available to all buying a new build property.”

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