First-timers warned of rising prices

January saw gross mortgage borrowing of £10.8bn, 38% higher than the same month last year, while the number of house purchase approvals are the highest since September 2007.

Brown said: “Mortgages are certainly more available than a year ago, and for the most part even cheaper, which is excellent news for the property market as a whole.

“But with a limited supply of homes available rising house prices could be a counterweight to this excitement for many would-be new buyers.”

He also asserted that landlords are benefitting from rising house prices, which is accelerating the growth of their portfolios.

He added: “A healthy rental market is part of the recipe for a healthy property market as a whole. Slower rent rises can help prospective first time buyers to build a deposit.

“Many potential first time buyers are already benefitting from more lending to landlords. While not a direct step onto the ladder, this is keeping rent rises under control and currently beneath inflation. A small minority of tenants are paying down any late rent, which is good for all parties.”

On a month-on-month basis, gross lending in January was down 6% from £11.5bn in December.

Compared to a year earlier, January 2014 house purchase approvals increased by 57%, whilst remortgaging rose by 51%.