More borrowers purchased their first home last year than in any year since 2007, according to Halifax.
Some 326,500 first-time buyers purchased a home last year, up 22 per cent from 268,500 in 2013, says the bank.
First-time buyers accounted for 46 per cent of all mortgaged house purchases in 2014, up from 44 per cent in 2013.
Mortgage affordability has improved in the past seven years, with an average of 32 per cent of a first-time buyer’s income going towards mortgage repayments in 2014, down from a peak of 50 per cent in 2007.
The lender says the greater availability of high-LTV loans has helped bring the average first-time deposit down 7 per cent from £31,852 in 2013 to £29,218 last year. This still sits some 67 per cent higher than the 2007 average deposit of £17,499.
Halifax director of mortgages Craig McKinlay says: “First-time buyers are vital for a properly functioning housing market. Improving economic conditions and rising employment levels have boosted confidence among those thinking about getting on to the housing ladder for the first time, contributing to the significant increase in first-time buyers in the past two years.
“Record low mortgage rates and Government schemes such as Help to Buy have improved affordability, enabling more first-time buyers to purchase their own property.”