First timer mortgages on the rise as approvals grow [Photo: Courtney Keating/iStock]

The mortgage market has enjoyed huge improvement over the last year, and first-time buyers have been some of the biggest beneficiaries of this growth, according to new data published this week. 

Research from e.surv shows that in the past 12 months, the number of mortgages approved for house purchases has grown by a significant 7.8 per cent. 

This is likely due to the slowing of the market in the aftermath of Brexit throughout summer 2016, but it shows that there has been a real improvement since then, and that the sector has bounced back well from a difficult challenge it faced last year. 

However, while the market has grown in general over the past 12 months, it is those who come to market with a small deposit - primarily first-time buyers - who are seeing the best improvements in lending conditions. The e.surv data shows that the proportion of all loans being approved for first timers is a rather impressive 20.3 per cent, up from the 19.6 per cent seen in August 2016.

It also marks a large growth in activity from small deposit buyers when compared to the tail end of last year. As recently as December 2016, the proportion of mortgage lending being afforded to these buyers was as low as 16 per cent. 

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv, said: "The UK mortgage market is in a much healthier position than a year ago. Approval rates are 7.8 per cent higher year on year and first-time buyers are taking more of the overall market. 

"A year ago the market was dealing with reverberations of the Brexit vote, but the past 12 months have seen a strong recovery for the mortgage industry and the outlook for the future looks more settled," he added.