The latest Mortgage Monitor from e.surv shows that the Yorkshire market is the most attractive towards first-time buyers and others with small deposits.
By contrast, London continues to be the toughest for those with smaller deposits.
Across the UK there were 66,614 mortgages approved (seasonally adjusted) during March 2018. This is up 4.2% compared to February but down marginally – 1.3% – on the figure recorded a year ago.
E.surv said that with further speculation that the Bank of England base rate will rise again in the next few months, the summer months could see strong activity as more homeowners look to remortgage and secure a low rate.
Across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland some 19.6% of all mortgage approvals were to those with smaller deposits.
While this figure is down on the 21.1% recorded last month, it remains higher than the most recent low in the market.
In December 2017, 18.2% of loans were to small deposit borrowers while in November this figure was just 17.2%.
Richard Sexton (pictured), director at e.surv, said: “As talk of a further base rate increase continues to gather momentum, we are seeing many borrowers fix their rate and protect themselves against future rises.
“This has contributed to the growth in the mortgage market compared to last month.
“While the proportion of loans being given to first-time buyers has declined month on month, this month’s data shows the overall market is in a much stronger position than at the end of 2017.”
The number of mortgages approved for borrowers with a large deposit increased substantially compared to a month ago. These borrowers, defined by this survey as those with a deposit of 60% or more, made up 34.5% of the market in March 2018. This is the highest ratio seen so far this year, more than the 33.1% recorded last month and the 33.5% back in January.
This figure was last higher in December 2017, when 35.9% of all loans went to this part of the market.
At the same time, the proportion of mid-market borrowers has remained steady. This month 45.9% of all approvals were to these borrowers, in line with the 45.8% recorded in February. While the size of the overall market has increased compared to a month ago, there was a decline in the number of small deposit loans.
On an absolute basis there were 13,056 loans approved to these borrowers this month versus 14,060 in the last survey.