THE number of first-time buyers seeking mortgages remained strong in April 2012 despite the end of the Stamp Duty holiday in March, according to Halesowen estate agency Connells.

Indeed, Connells recorded a 14.5 per cent increase in mortgage sales to first-time buyers in April this year compared to April 2011.

“Despite reports and commentary that first-time buyers have dropped off the map since Stamp Duty was reinstated for properties over £125,000, we are still seeing higher numbers than we did last year,” said Harjit Sandhu, Mortgage Services Consultant for Connells.

“The race to beat Stamp Duty exemption certainly helped boost first-time buyer numbers in the first quarter of the year but this should not be overstated as the only reason we saw more activity from this group,” Harjit continued.

“Our figures show there are still many first-time buyers out there who want to buy a home even though they now have to pay Stamp Duty.”

In the first four months of 2012, Connells also recorded a 21.7 per cent increase in mortgage sales to those selling their property and moving home compared to the same period last year.

Its mortgage sales to all buyers, including first-time buyers, home movers, those remortgaging and buy-to-let investors has increased by almost a third when compared to the first four months in 2011.