"The mortgage industry helped 370,000 people buy their first home in 2018, the highest number in twelve years"
First-time buyer mortgages totalled 370,000 in 2018 - 1.9% higher than in 2017 and the highest number recorded since 2006, according to research from UK Finance.
The £62 billion of new first-time buyer lending in the year was 4.9% more than in 2017.
First-time buyer figures were up 1.6% in December compared to the same month a year earlier, while homemover numbers fell by 1.3% in December and remortgagors saw an annual rise of 9.3%.
In 2018, there were 476,900 new homeowner remortgages completed, 10.8% more than in 2017.
Buy-to-let purchases fell by 5.6% in December and 11.5% over 2018. Buy-to-let remortgages increased by 25.3% in December and 11.2% over the year.
Jackie Bennett, director of mortgages at UK Finance, said: "The mortgage industry helped 370,000 people buy their first home in 2018, the highest number in twelve years, as competitive deals and government schemes such as Help to Buy continue to boost the market.
"Homeowner remortgaging also saw strong growth driven by customers locking into attractive rates, a trend we expect to continue in 2019 as more fixed-rate mortgages come to an end.
"Demand for new buy-to-let purchases continues to be dampened by recent tax and regulatory changes. However, the number of buy-to-let remortgages reached a record high of almost 170,000 last year, suggesting many landlords remain committed to the market.”