Lack of first-time buyer finance a key issue

Those deciding whether to move or improve may be interested to hear the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) opinion on the recent Bank of England mortgage statistics.

With figures showing approvals rose to 39,000 in March, compared to a low of 27,000 in November, Rics believes the market is showing signs of a slow recovery.

However, it suggested the rate is still lower than would be expected and predicted approvals would not rise beyond 60,000 per month for the remainder of 2009.

"A key issue remains accessibility to the market for first time buyers, who are continuing to find the bulk of mortgages on offer only providing maximum loan to values of around 75 per cent," explained Rics chief economist Simon Rubinsohn.

He added it would be interesting to see how the recent government decision to guarantee new insurance of asset-backed securities was received by investors.

Mr Rubinsohn asserted the situation was unlikely to change in the short term.

The National Home Improvement Council recently suggested extending an existing home is "much more convenient" than buying a new property.