First-time buyer loans up 37pc

First-timers took out 37% more loans in April year-on-year, although volumes rose by just 1% on a monthly basis and in terms of value they increased 52% year-on-year and 3% from March.

The number of loans to home movers also increased annually by 30% in volume and 47% in value, while in April home mover loan volumes rose by 11%.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said: “First-time buyers and home movers continue to be key drivers in the growth of the market and, despite fears that MMR preparations may hinder this momentum, we have seen a continued year-on-year upward trend every month in 2014.

“The UK picture continues to mask a disparate set of varied local conditions, but overall we expect lending levels to continue to build on the foundation of growth we have seen over the past 12 months."

There were 6% more loans for remortgage in April compared to March and 11% more by value, with the total hitting £8.8bn.

Buy-to-let lending in April amounted to £2.2bn, representing 16,200 loans. This was virtually identical to March, but up 43% by volume and 57% by value compared to April last year.

George Spencer, chief executive officer of lettings agency Rentify, said: “With the number of buy-to-let mortgages up 49% on the same month last year, the sector continues to go from strength to strength.

“However, the 38% increase in buy-to-let remortgages shows that landlords are continuing to seek out the best deal for their investment, with many opting for fixed rate mortgages as a defence against the rumoured interest rate rises.

“In the short-term, the buy-to-let market should remain strong as it is under-pinned by a shortage of affordable homes to buy. However, it remains to be seen what long-term effects the government’s plans to make it easier to build new houses for sale, announced in last week’s Queen’s Speech, will have on the rental market.”

Stephen Smith, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club and Housing, added: “Buoyancy and confidence is clearly returning to the market, as these figures from the CML show, and this is likely to continue over the summer. It is especially encouraging to see lending to first time buyers increase by 52% from April last year as this shows how much the market has strengthened over the last 12 months.

“This data also backs up our own figures which show that our lending has not only held up this year but actually increased month on month since January. This is despite the introduction of the Mortgage Market Review, which many feared would hit lending. Now that confidence has well and truly taken root, it is important that the market is not allowed to overheat. Increasing the supply of new homes across the country, particularly in London and the South east will be crucial to ensuring that the housing market grows at a sustainable pace over the coming months.”