Sharp rise in Scottish first-time buyers

Estate agent's window Mortgage lenders recorded the highest number of loans by first-time buyers for nearly two years

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The number of first-time buyers in Scotland rose sharply in the second quarter, bucking the overall UK trend, according to mortgage lenders.

A report by the Council of Mortgage Lenders in Scotland (CML) recorded the highest number of loans taken out by first-time buyers since the third quarter of 2010.

The 20% quarterly increase compared favourably with UK figures.

Lending in the country as a whole fell 3% compared to the previous quarter.

CML said there were "positive signs" in the housing market.

A total of 4,800 loans were taken out by first-time buyers in Scotland, up from 4,000 loans in the previous quarter and 4,400 loans in the second quarter of 2011.

By value, first-time buyers in Scotland borrowed £450m, the highest total since the last quarter of 2009.

Home movers

Lending to home movers contributed towards an overall increase in house purchase lending.

A total of 7,600 loans were advanced to movers, an increase of 36% compared to the first quarter of 2012.

This also represented a 6% increase compared to the same quarter last year.

By value, they borrowed just over £1bn in the second quarter of 2012, up from £720m in the previous quarter and £940m in the same quarter of 2011.

Overall, 12,400 loans worth over £1.46bn were taken out for house purchase in Scotland in the second quarter of 2012.

This marked a 29% increase on the first quarter of 2012 and a 7% increase compared to the second quarter of 2011.

'Positive signs'

CML Scotland chairman Iain Malloch said: "It is encouraging to see some positive signs emerging from the housing market in Scotland.

"An increase in overall home lending in contrast to the rest of the UK is encouraging, and the Scottish government is working with the building and lending industries on a forthcoming scheme to enable people to access higher loan-to-value mortgages on new build properties."

"We still expect to see challenging conditions in the housing market in Scotland but we hope to see an easing of constraints throughout the rest of 2012 and beyond," he added.

House building industry body Homes for Scotland described the overall rise in lending for house purchases in the second quarter as "positive news", as it demonstrated that the demand for home ownership still existed in Scotland.

Chief executive Philip Hogg said: "Despite the continuing economic uncertainty, thousands of Scots are still buying and moving home.

"However, the figures also show that first-time buyers are having to find an average deposit of 20% and home movers an average of nearly 30%.

"This equates to more than £31,000 and £43,000 respectively, based on an average Registers of Scotland 2011/12 home price of £156,4192 - considerably more than the corresponding 7% and 11% deposits each group had to find 10 years ago."

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