Homebuyers have been given a welcome boost after it was revealed mortgage numbers have hit their highest level in more than three and a half years.
The latest research from Moneyfacts.co.uk showed the number of mortgages available to prime residential borrowers has reached 3,035.
It is the highest amount seen since February 2008, and more than two and a half times the 1,209 that were available at the height of the banking crisis in 2009.
But while mortgage numbers have recovered to the levels of a few years ago, Moneyfacts.co.uk said the market is 'a very different place', particularly for first time buyers.
According to the data, borrowers with a 10% deposit or less currently have the choice of 325 products.
This is considerably higher than the 75 that were available in April 2009, but remains well down on the 1,258 products that were on offer to the same borrowers in February 2008.
"First time buyers are finally being given some options as the number of deals available to borrowers with a 10% deposit or less continues to grow," said Michelle Slade, spokesperson for Moneyfacts.co.uk.
"By increasing the number of mortgages, lenders are showing that they are open for business.
"Rising product numbers bring more competition, which has brought more keenly priced mortgage deals to the market.
"Average mortgage rates have fallen to all-time lows, while at the same time deposit requirements are easing."
But while recent lending figures show that the number of mortgages being approved is rising, Ms Slade points out that levels are still a long way off those seen in previous years.
"Increased availability of mortgage products does not mean increased mortgage lending," she added.
"Affordability remains a key factor, so lenders continue to target remortgagers with sizable deposits who already have a proven payment history."
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