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First-time buyers fall to lowest ever level

Lending to first-time buyers fell below 30 per cent of the total for

the first time ever in February as advances eased off across the

whole market, according to figures from the Council of Mortgage


It says total gross advances fell by more than 8 per cent last month

to £17.8bn from £19.4bn in January.

The Building Societies Association says gross advances by building

societies were also down in February to £2.97bn from

£3.34bn in January.

The CML reports that remortgages made up more than half of total

lending for the second month in a row, accounting for 51 per cent of

the total amount.

It says only 29 per cent of loans went to first-time buyers,

suggesting that their confidence in the housing market may be lower

than other buyers and that affordability may be affecting them more.

The BSA says net savings receipts went up to £590m in February

from a net outflow of £150m in January. Gross receipts were down

to £6.8bn from £7.1bn.

CML director general Michael Coogan says: “While worries about war

are bound to impact on short-term consumer confidence, it is

difficult to factor in their potential long-term impact on the

housing market. However, for many reasons, it continues to seem very

likely that the market will return to a period of lower and more

sustainable growth during the course of the year.”

BSA director general Adrian Coles says: “Building societies&#39 net

advances doubled between February 2002 and February 2003, showing

both continued strength in the housing market and societies&#39 position

in that market.”


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