First-time buyers appear to be dipping their toes back into the waters of the mortgage market, with levels of activity in the sector climbing to the highest level for four years during February 2013, according to new figures from Connells Survey & Valuation.
Valuations instructed for first-time buyer homes rose by 27% month-on-month, representing an annual increase of 23%.
The research also showed a 25% monthly increase in home-mover activity last month, whilst the number of people remortgaging soared 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.
Unprecedented demand for rental property has had a positive effect on the buy-to-let mortgage market and, in turn, landlords' pockets. Activity in the buy-to-let market increased annually by 26%, with levels soaring by 24% since the beginning of this year.
John Bagshaw, corporate services director at Connells, welcomed the boom in first-time buyer activity, although he believes 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," he said.
"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," he observed.
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