The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has reported that 25,000 people took out their first mortgage in May this year, which is the highest number of first mortgages since December 2007 and a 42% increase on May 2012. The number of first-time buyers taking out mortgages is now at its highest level for five and a half years. 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.” Much of the credit for this has gone to the government’s Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) which has made mortgages cheaper and more available. Under the FLS, banks and building societies are able to borrow from the Bank of England at cheaper rates, providing they use the money to lend to individuals and businesses. However, some analysts believe that the figures have been exaggerated due to the change to stamp duty thresholds at the end of March 2012, which caused a relatively low uptake of mortgages in May 2012. It has also been highlighted that monthly lending is still running at half the level it was before the financial crisis. The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Setfords Solicitors are a national full service law firm, with property solicitors in Bromley and across the country.