Further evidence that schemes to boost the housing market are taking effect was shown today as mortgage lending for homebuyers reached a two-year high.
Some 55,300 loans were advanced for house purchase in August worth £8.4 billion, representing an 11 per cent increase on a year ago and the largest number of loans seen since July 2010, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said.
Lending to first-time buyers is up by a fifth on a year ago with £2.8 billion worth of loans advanced, only just below the levels seen in March when the ending of a stamp duty concession for this sector prompted a rush of people looking to complete deals.
The typical first-time buyer deposit has stood at 19 per cent since July, the lowest average deposit for this sector in more than three years, the CML said.
But the lending body cautioned that it was too early to say whether the boost is the start of an ongoing trend or if it is down to the market re-adjusting after summer distractions such as the Olympics.
Mortgage availability has been increasing since an £80 billion funding for lending scheme was launched at the start of August, although much of this has so far been concentrated around people with larger deposits of at least 20 per cent.
Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said the figures showed "welcome indications" that funding for lending is starting to kick in, with several lenders slashing their rates recently.
"The Government also launched a NewBuy scheme in the spring, which has been helping first-time buyers and home movers buy a new-build home with a deposit of just five per cent."