300,000 people buy their first home in biggest rise since 2007
More than 300,000 people took their first step on the property ladder in the UK last year, marking the highest number of first-time buyers seen since 2007, banks and building societies have reported.
In total, an estimated £205.6bn worth of mortgages were handed out last year to all types of borrower, marking the largest amount lent since 2008, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said.
The overall value of home loans advanced during 2014 was 17% higher than the £176bn-worth of deals which were handed out in 2013. Last year also marked the first time since 2008 that the total annual value of mortgage lending topped the £200bn mark.
There were just under £254bn-worth of mortgages handed out in 2008.
But the latest annual total still sits well below the £362.7bn of mortgages handed out in 2007 - and the number of first-time buyers remains below what the CML said might be considered "normal".
CML chief economist Bob Pannell said first-time buyers were a "key driver" of last year's housing market recovery.
He said: "The number of first-time buyers topped the 300,000 mark. While a far cry from the half million that we might regard as 'normal', this was the highest number of first-time buyers since 2007."
The start of 2014 saw a burst of activity in the housing market.