Figures published by the CML showed that although the deposit required for the average first-time UK mortgage remains at around 20 per cent, average monthly repayments have steadily fallen, and now comprise around 12.3 per cent of a household’s monthly outgoings. This is the lowest figure since January 2004.

Buyers seeking a mortgage to move house have also benefited from falling payments, with their share of monthly income falling to 9.2 per cent – an all-time low since records began in 2002.

The overall mortgage market remains fairly sluggish, however, due to relatively large deposit requirements and the continuing economic uncertainty afflicting the UK. October saw some 44,500 mortgages agreed for house-buying, compared to 48,200 in September and 46,900 in October last year.

When it came to remortgaging, there were 28,900 such agreements made in October compared to 34,200 loans in September and 29,100 in October 2010, noted CML director-general Paul Smee.

“Despite the fall in lending in October, it is possible that we will see signs of increased activity by first-time buyers in the early months of next year, as we approach the end of the government’s stamp duty concession at the end of March,” he added. “The underlying picture of the market overall, however, is level, albeit at low levels of lending activity.”

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