The number of people buying their first home has grown almost 7% over the past year despite growing concerns over affordability.
The total monthly volume of first-time buyer transactions stood at 21,100 in February, up 6.6% from 19,800 in the same month last year.
The increase came despite a seasonal dip which saw the number of completed first-time buyer transactions fall by 300, or 1.4%, compared to January.
Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains, said February is traditionally a quiet period for the first-time buyer market as it sits awkwardly between the New Year property market rush and the spring-summer activity high.
“However, these figures demonstrate the strong, steady underlying growth that comes with growing first-time buyer confidence.”
Gill said this optimism should reveal itself more clearly in March, even though the mismatch between buyers and sellers will continue to drive up prices.
The costs of buying and owning a first home have remained broadly stable in February, with lower borrowing costs balancing larger prices and deposits.
Average mortgage rates for first-time buyers have improved, down 0.56 percentage points over the last year.
Gill said: “February’s average mortgage rate also represents the lowest for first-time buyers in over five years.”
Similarly, the average LTV ratio remains high, meaning first-time buyers have been able to borrow more against the value of the home.