The cautious return of homebuyers continued to prop up mortgage lending in August, despite a fall in the number of borrowers remortgaging.

There were 52,700 home loans approved for purchases in August, a 29% rise year on year, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the trade body. The figures represented a seasonal fall of 5% on the previous month.

First-time buyers were granted 19,200 home loans, a 22% increase on August 2008.

Paul Samter, economist for the CML, said: 'It will be a drawn-out recovery process, with seasonal ups and downs, but house purchase activity is now on a firmer footing.'

The Times