According to the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, 12,600 loans were advanced to first-time buyers in April – a 48% decline on March.
By value, first-time buyers borrowed £1.5bn, down 52% compared to March and 12% compared to April last year.
While the average loan amount fell from £117,000 in March to £98,000 in April and first-time buyers typically borrowed 3.12 times their income, down from 3.34 in March.
The drop off in activity for first-time buyers was seen mainly among properties that would have qualified for the exemption in March so were subject to Stamp Duty in April.
Purchases of properties valued between £125,000 and £250,000 fell by 70% in April compared to March. In contrast those valued at £125,000 or below, so still exempt from Stamp Duty, fell by a more modest 11%, while first-time buyer purchases for properties over £250,000, so not eligible for the exemption in any case, fell by only 5%
Meanwhile, lending to home movers also fell. 23,400 loans worth £3.8bn were taken out in April, down by 15% compared to March but an increase of 3% by volume and value, compared to April 2011.
Total house purchase lending in April fell from 51,600 loans, worth £7.4bn, in March to 36,000, worth £5.3bn in April. Remortgaging also saw a fall, with £3.1bn advanced, down 14% compared with March and the lowest monthly total since December 2010.
Paul Smee, director-general of CML, says: “April’s figures show the expected effect of the end of the Stamp Duty concession on UK mortgage lending. Given the economic uncertainty, any significant pick up in lending in the coming months seems unlikely.
“However, our recent research highlights that over 80% of people still aspire eventually to own their own homes, and long term demand clearly still exists.”