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First-time buyer numbers reach four year high

Around 13% more new buyers than this time last year

The number of first-time buyers has reached its highest level for four years.

The number of first-time buyers has reached its highest level for four years.

The number of first-time buyers climbed to its highest level for four years during February 2013, according to new figures from Connells Survey & Valuation.

Valuations for first-time buyer homes showed a monthly increase of 27%, with the total number of valuations up by 23%.

Remortgaging and buy-to-let activity up

The findings also showed a 25% monthly increase in home moving activity last month, while the number of people remortgaging rose by 44% compared with this time last year.

Remortgage valuations accounted for over a quarter of all property valuations for the first time since January 2012.

Strong demand for rental property is said to have had a positive effect on the buy-to-let mortgage market – buy-to-let activity increased annually by 26%, with levels up by 24% since the beginning of this year.

Buyers with big deposits benefiting

John Bagshaw, corporate services director at Connells, feels the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) is benefiting those with larger deposits: “For the housing market, things are looking increasingly positive as the growing number of first-time buyers feed into overall activity.

“Current mortgage holders are the biggest winners from FLS so far. The greater bulk of new deals emerging due to greater credit availability are aimed at existing homeowners, with sufficient equity to help bolster lenders’ balance sheets.”

Recent research by Moneyfacts found average rates for five-year fixed rate mortgages had reduced from 6.00% in February 2010 to 4.14% at present – the lowest rates since 1989.

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