Persistent low interest rates and intense competition between lenders along with a cooling of house price growth have all helped first-time buyers’ cause in the UK, according to latest statistics from Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA).

In addition to the continuation of the Help-to-Buy equity loan scheme, IMLA attributed this trend to improved housing product availability. UK Finance data recently showed that first-time buyer numbers reached a ten-year high in 2017.

Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of first-time buyer mortgage applications via intermediaries were completed during the last three months of 2017 – rising from just over half (53 per cent) a year earlier. Figures buoyed by nearly 9 in 10 first-time buyers (88 per cent) securing a mortgage offer, up from 73 per cent during the last three months of 2016.

Mortgage Market Tracker from IMLA observed that across 2017 as a whole, 87 per cent of first-time buyer applications resulted in an offer and 81 per cent of those went on to complete: both noticeable improvements on 2016. This clearly indicates that more number of first-time buyers are entering the housing market.

The improving performance of the mortgage market last year meant that intermediaries have approached the new year with confidence about their prospects for 2018.