Activity in the first-time buyer sector was 17 per cent stronger in February 2013 than in February 2012, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders - combined with January's figures, this is the largest number of first-time buyers in the first two months of the year since 2008.
First-time buyers took out 16,400 loans in February, compared to 15,900 in January and 14,000 at the same time last year. By value, loans to first-time buyers were £2 billion, 18 per cent higher than in February 2012.
First-time buyers accounted for 43 per cent of all house purchase loans in February, on average borrowing a slightly smaller amount in February than in January.
Lending to home movers fell in February for the third consecutive month - 21,500 loans were made to borrowers who moved in February, down by four per cent compared to January and three per cent on February 2012.
CML director general Paul Smee said: "First-time buyers are continuing to take advantage of more favourable market conditions, helping to drive the underlying trend for resilient house purchase lending. We hope that the new initiatives announced by the government in the 2013 Budget will further stimulate first-time buyer activity but also help those 'second steppers' looking to move into a new or existing home."