More first time buyers in Scotland joined the property ladder between June and September this year since the same period in 2007 - before the recession hit - a report has revealed.
People buying their first home also borrowed more this quarter than any other quarter since records began, according to the Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML).
The number of first time buyers rose to 8,600 in the quarter, the highest since the third quarter in 2007, when 9,600 Scots became homeowners for the first time.
Overall, Scottish home buyers borrowed £2.2bn for house purchases, up five per cent quarter-on-quarter but down five per cent year-on-year. They took out 17,100 loans, up five per cent on the previous quarter but down four per cent compared to the third quarter 2015.
Carol Anderson, chairwoman of CML Scotland, said: “First-time buyers continue to be a key driver in the market with more loans advanced to new home-owners than any quarter since 2007. This quarter also saw a four year high in remortgage activity and quarter-on-quarter growth in home movers so all lending types have performed strongly over the summer months.
“This is the first quarter post the EU referendum and the market appears resilient so far. It may take time to fully gauge the full impact but currently the Scotland market is in good shape and open for business moving forward.”
The study also revealed that the average age of a first time buyer in Scotland is 29, just below the typical age of 30 in the rest of the UK.
Affordability metrics for first-time buyers in Scotland remain better than for the UK overall. First time buyers took out an average loan of £100,000, typically 85 per cent of the property’s value and well below the UK average figure of £134,900. Meanwhile, the typical average household income of a first-time buyers increased slightly from £33,600 to £33,700, compared to £40,500 in the UK overall, taking the income multiple in Scotland to 3.02 - a slight decrease compared to 3.03 the previous quarter and lower than the UK average of 3.54.
Meanwhile, home movers borrowed £1.3bn, up six per cent quarter-on-quarter but down 11 per cent compared to a year ago. This totalled 8,500 loans, up six per cent quarter-on-quarter but down 12 per cent on quarter three 2015.
Remortgage activity totalled £890m, up six per cent on the previous quarter and 11 per cent on the same quarter in 2015. This came to 7,300 loans, up four per cent quarter-on-quarter and 11 per cent compared to a year ago.
Homes for Scotland chief executive Nicola Barclay said: “Today’s figures for First Time Buyers are good news as this group is the lifeblood of the housing market. They also point to the positive impact the Scottish Government’s Help to Buy shared equity scheme is continuing to have on new build sales, with the ceiling price now targeted at this end of the market.
“However, with the volume of loans to other home buyers 12 per cent down on a year ago, we must not forget the importance of ensuring activity at all levels of the market so that people can move up and down the housing ladder according to their own needs and aspirations."