The latest Mortgage Monitor from e.surv has revealed that mortgage approvals fell slightly in January.
There were 66,002 residential mortgages approved during the first month of the decade (seasonally adjusted).
This was down 1.8% compared with December’s figure.
Remortgage activity was strong, with borrowers taking the opportunity to switch to a new lender and seal a low rate at the start of the year.
This caused a spike in the proportion of loans being taken out by mid-market customers during January.
Small deposit borrowers, a group which encompasses many first-time buyers, also increased their market share from 25.5% to 26.7%.
First-time buyers have often been reliant on a range of government-backed schemes. With the government’s Spring Budget looming, would-be homeowners will be alert to any potential new measures which could help them onto the property ladder.
Richard Sexton (pictured), director at e.surv, said: “While the market fell slightly following the December bump, rumours of a Bank of England base rate cut appear to have had little appreciable impact on the mortgage market, with a strong performance among several key buyer groups in January.
“Existing homeowners benefited from low remortgage rates and were persuaded to switch to a new deal, while new buyers also swooped to seal low interest rates for their first purchase.
“The new Chancellor is due to present the government’s Spring Budget in March – the first opportunity for the Johnson government to lay out its spending plans.
“Homeowners, lenders, housebuilders, and anyone else with a stake in the UK housing market, will be watching with interest.”