Northern Ireland recorded the highest increase in house purchase activity in the whole of the UK in Q2 2018 as some 2,700 first-time buyers made their way onto the property ladder, the latest figures from UK Finance have shown.
First-time buyer completions were up some 12.5% on Q2 2017 figures representing the highest quarterly level since 2005.
The average Northern Ireland first-time buyer is 30 and has a gross household income of £33,000.
There were also 1,600 new homemover mortgages completed in Northern Ireland in the second quarter of 2018, 6.7% more than in the same quarter of 2017.
On the remortgage front there were 2,300 new homeowner remortgages completed – up 9.5% on the same quarter a year earlier.
Derek Wilson, chair of UK Finance’s Northern Ireland Mortgage Committee, said: “The Northern Ireland mortgage market continues to perform strongly and has returned to the levels of consistent growth last seen in the early 2000s.
“Lending to first-time buyers has overtaken remortgaging as the largest sector by value, reversing the position in the last quarter, as borrowers take advantage of what remains the UK’s most affordable region.
“With the number of first-time buyers reaching a 12 year high, it will be important to increase the supply of new homes to match this growing demand.”