Almost nine in 10 (87%) first-time buyer applications through an intermediary resulted in an offer in 2017 – up from seven in 10 (71%) in 2016, IMLA’s Mortgage Market Tracker has revealed.
What is more four in five (81%) of those offers went to completion, up from seven in 10 (70%) the year before.
Overall seven in 10 (71%) of first-time buyer applicants achieved their aim of securing a mortgage in 2017, compared with just half (50%) in 2016.
Kate Davies (pictured), executive director of IMLA, said: “In particular, first-time buyers have benefited from widely available and competitively priced deals, even before the extra confidence boost of the stamp duty exemption announced in the Autumn Budget.
“It is encouraging to see that mortgage repayments have remained stable even as more first-time buyers make the step up onto the housing ladder.
“With the Bank of England base rate on a slow upward trajectory, lenders remain firmly focused on rigorous affordability tests so that borrowers do not overstretch themselves to achieve their ambitions.”
Brokers are positive about future prospects, as two thirds (64%) said they were very confident in their own business’ activity in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Louisa Sedgwick, director of sales – mortgages at Vida Homeloans, said: “It is encouraging to see these latest figures showing a burgeoning first-time buyer market.
“The rise of lenders willing to help borrowers turned away from the high street and greater innovation in the market means more and more first time buyers are securing properties.
“Schemes such as Help to Buy and ‘buy together’ mortgages have made house buying within reach for borrowers, while many lenders also allow builder gifted deposits or family gifted deposits, which for some first time buyers, may be the only way they can afford their first home.
“However, there are still a number of obstacles to overcome to ensure this underserved customer segment have access to mortgage products flexible enough to meet their requirements.
“Therefore, it is vital for lenders to continue to innovate and adapt criteria to meet the changing needs of first-time buyers, enabling more borrowers to get on the property ladder.”