Mortgage market 'getting easier for first-time buyers'

Date:Friday 13th February 2009
Author: Susanna Kavka

The mortgage market is "easing" for first-time buyers, according to an expert.

Richard Hair, past president of the National Association of Estate Agents, said that the information from mortgage brokers shows that loans-to-value of up to 85 per cent can now be obtained without incurring serious penalties.

"There is just a little loosening of the purse strings and that is a very welcome sign," he said, adding that many people buying now would have done so last year if it had been an option.

Data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders has shown that in the past year, mortgage lending activity has fallen significantly.

Figures for 2008 show that 516,000 loans were made for house purchase, the lowest level since 1974 and a 49 per cent drop on the previous year.

In December, 12,100 loans were made to first-time buyers, worth a total of £1.4 billion.

That was the lowest level since 2002, when monthly records started.