Banks and building societies handed out more mortgages to first-time buyers in March than any time since 2002, according to a trade association.
Across the UK, 42,330 mortgages were issued to first-time buyers in March, marking the highest monthly total since December 2002 when 44,000 were advanced, UK Finance said.
Many people who would have taken their first step on the property ladder last year may have put their plans on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the market having been effectively shut for part of 2020.
The peak month for lending to first-time buyers on UK Finance’s records was July 2002, with 54,100 loans.
A total of 58,810 mortgages were advanced in March to home movers – the highest figure since August 2007.
The peak month for home mover activity was July 2004 when 93,500 mortgages were advanced.
March 2021 was the original deadline for a stamp duty holiday in England and Northern Ireland, but the period has been extended.
Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance, said: “Since the housing market emerged from its shutdown last spring, we have seen a remarkable recovery in demand, which continued through quarter one 2021.
“Existing home owners have taken advantage of the stamp duty concessions, with changing working and living patterns encouraging more to use their existing equity, either to move further afield or to fund further housing purchases for themselves or family.”