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First-time buyers have flooded back into the market while lending to other home owners continues to lag behind pre-crisis levels, according to the latest annual snapshot of the mortgage market.

Almost 311,500 first-time buyers took out a mortgage in 2014, the highest number for seven years, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Its research showed lending to this group reached £45bn in 2014, only slightly behind the £47.2bn peak in 2007.