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First-time buyers soar to 11-year high

More first-time buyers took out mortgages in 2017 than any time over the last decade, according to research.

A report by UK Finance showed that a total of 365,000 first-time buyer mortgages were completed last year - up 7.4% on 2016 and the highest number since 2006.

However, mortgages for first-time buyers, home movers and buy-to-let purchases all fell in the final month of last year, compared to the same time in 2016.

Around 30,800 new first-time buyer mortgages were completed in December 2017, down 5.2% on December 2016, while £5.1 billion of new lending represented a 1.9% year-on-year drop.

Home movers took out 30,700 new mortgages in the final month of last year, a decrease of 4.7% on 2016.

New buy-to-let mortgages saw the biggest year-on-year drop, with the number of new loans for house purchases decreasing 17.2% and for remortgages by 11.6%.

Paul Smee, head of mortgages at UK Finance, said:

"2017 saw the number of first-time buyers reach its highest level in a decade, which is welcome news for those getting started on the housing ladder.

"Although the market remains competitive there is no room for complacency, with weaker December figures consistent with our market forecast of subdued growth this year.

"We are also seeing a less buoyant buy-to-let market, which continues to be impacted by recent tax and regulatory changes. This will continue to flatten gross lending volumes this year."

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