Gifts and loans from parents are helping to prop up the housing market for young, first-time buyers, according to new data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

Eighty per cent of first-time buyers under the age of 30 are likely to have received help from parents to make the 25% downpayment now required by most lenders, the CML says. In 2006, this figure was about 40 per cent.

Some 14,000 loans to purchase homes were made to first-time buyers in May, up by 2% from April but still almost 30% fewer than in May 2008.

However, the data also suggest that lenders are no longer tightening their criteria, a trend which has been evident since late last year. Average loans to first-time buyers were almost three times income in May, the same as April.

Financial Times