The number of first-time buyers entering the property market in May 2013 soared by 42% compared to a year earlier, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
There were 55,900 loans worth £8.4 billion advanced for house purchase during the month – up 31.2% on the April 2013 and 18.7% up on May 2012.
This included mortgages to first-time buyers of 25,100 – 29% higher than the previous month and 24% up on May 2012.
This marks the highest monthly figure since late 2007, and is in "marked contrast to the low point of just 8,500 loans in January 2009", according to the CML.
While first-time buyers are borrowing more (£113,400 in May 2013, on average, compared with £110,000 in April and £105,000 in May last year), their incomes have also risen, from 33,500 in May 2012 to 35,700 in May this year.
The age of the typical first-time buyer remained at 29.
But the CML also said that the number of people remortgaging has also risen, along with the number of people taking out buy-to-let mortgages.
Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said: "Both the borrowing appetite of first-time buyers, and the availability of attractive mortgages for them, have improved markedly since a year ago.
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"What is interesting is that, in contrast to some recent assertions, this is happening in parallel with the strengthening buy-to-let market. It is perfectly possible for both the buy-to-let market and the first-time buyer market to improve at the same time, as the evidence clearly demonstrates."