The number of loans advanced for house purchase increased by 12% in February, according to figures released today by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. January was extremely weak due to one-off factors such as the effect of the end of the stamp-duty exemption in December 2009 and the severe winter weather. So the 35,000 loans advanced (worth £5 billion) signifies a modest recovery, although they were up by 49% in volume and by 67% in value from a year earlier. The end of the stamp duty holiday in December meant there were fewer first-time buyers in January. As a result their numbers rose slightly faster than the rest of the market in February with 12,600 loans advanced (worth £1.5 billion), up 13% by number and 15% by value on January. Home mover activity, which was less affected by the stamp duty holiday of 2008 and 2009, did not see as much of a rebound. The number of transactions were still higher with 22,600 loans advanced, (worth £3.5 billion), up 11% by number and 6% by value on January.