A strong FTB showing

The number of first-time buyers in London, Northern Ireland, Wales and London rose to their largest respective annual totals in five years in 2012.

In Scotland, the number of first-time buyers rose to the largest annual total in four years, according to data released today by the Council of Mortgage Lenders last week.

The number of first-time buyers in London rose by 15 per cent in 2012 from 32,400 in 2011 to reach 37,300 by the end of 2012. A total of 10,200 first-time buyers bought their first home in the fourth quarter, representing the largest single quarter for activity in this sector since the final quarter of 2009.

CML director general Paul Smee says: “These figures show that first-time buyers in London are regaining their confidence and returning to the market. Even though property in London remains more expensive than in the rest of the UK, low interest rates and the increased availability of high loan-to-value mortgages for borrowers with smaller deposits has enabled more aspirational homeowners to enter the market than any time in the last five years.”

In Wales, the number rose from 8,300 in 2011 to reach 8,700 in 2012. A total of 2,500 loans worth £240m were advanced to first-time buyers in Wales in the fourth quarter, representing the most by value since the second quarter of 2008.

Lending to first-time buyers increased in the final quarter of the year in Northern Ireland, contributing to the largest number of loans to first time buyers in a single year since 2007. A total of 5,100 first-time buyers were approved in 2012, up 9 per cent on the 4,700 figure for 2011. A total of 1,400 loans were advanced to FTBs in the fourth quarter, representing an 8 per cent increase on the 1,300 loans approved in the third quarter and the same as the last quarter of 2011.

In Scotland, 19,000 first-time buyer loans were approved in 2012, up 13 per cent from 16,800 in the previous year. In the fourth quarter, 5,200 first-time buyers received loans in Scotland – up 4 per cent from the 5,000 loans approved in the third quarter and up by 18 per cent on the 4,400 loans approved in the fourth quarter of 2011.