This was an increase of 74% compared to February and 57% higher than March 2011.
By value, first-time buyers took out loans worth £3billion, up 76% from the previous month and 67% from March last year.
First-time buyers accounted for 42% of total house purchase loans, the highest proportion since 2001.
Of those first-time buyers taking out a mortgage in March, 63% bought a property valued between £125,000 and £250,000 so were exempt from stamp duty.
This compares to an average of around 50% since 2006 (except immediately before and after the end of the previous stamp duty concession). Some 98% of first-time buyers in March took out a repayment loan, the highest since CML records began.
Although the stamp duty holiday only related to first-time buyers, the tendency for property transactions to involve "chains" resulted in knock on effects to other house purchasers also.
Some 27,200 loans, worth £4.3billion, were taken out by home movers in March, up by 25%, 19% by value, compared to February and 15%, 10% by value, compared to March 2011.
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