First-time buyers' costs rise

Mortgage costs for first-time buyers increased in February for the first time in nearly a year. With many lenders increasing their rates, the proportion of income spent on mortgage interest payments rose to 12.5 from 12.1 per cent the previous month.

It marked the first rise since April last year, but the Council of Mortgage Lenders said the percentage still compared favourably with 2008's average of 19.6 per cent.

The CML added that home movers took out 22,500 loans worth £3.7bn in February, up 2 per cent in volume and 3 per cent in value from January.