There were 66,350 mortgages approved in January 2019, according to the latest mortgage monitor from e.surv.
The report showed that, despite mixed predictions for the housing market this year, there were encouraging signs for younger borrowers with little cash to spare.
In January, 27.1% of all mortgage approvals were for borrowers with a small deposit, up from 25.2% the previous month.
Yorkshire proves most attractive to young buyers
Yorkshire started the year as the region most receptive to first-time buyers and others with small deposits.
Some 36.7% of all loans in Yorkshire were to this group of borrowers, higher than any other region surveyed.
Close behind was the North West, where 32.8% of loans went to this segment of the market, and then Northern Ireland (32.7%).
At the other end of the scale, just 17.3% of London borrowers were able to get on the ladder with a small deposit, the lowest of any region, in January.
Large deposit borrowers, by contrast, had a much better time of it in the English capital, accounting for 38.5% of all sales.
London was followed by the South East, where 33.5% of all loans were to this part of the market. The figure was 29.3% in Scotland, Eastern England, Southern England and South Wales.
Swing towards borrowers with small deposits
Richard Sexton, director at e.surv (pictured), said there are many predictions for the housing and mortgage markets in 2019, ranging from the bullish to the more cautious.
He said: “Hard-pressed first-time buyers will be pleased to see a swing towards borrowers with small deposits this month. If this pattern continues across the year, it will be a welcome relief to those struggling to get a foot onto the housing ladder.
“First-time buyers are becoming the new battleground for mortgage lenders. Rates are being cut and, perhaps more importantly, lenders are receptive to applicants that previously may have found accessing finance challenging.”