First-home-buyer home loans surged in December to their highest level since late 2009, according to new ABS data.

Master Builders chief economist Shane Garrett says the volume of home loans to FHBs increased 6.2% to record a monthly total of 9,606. The last time a higher monthly total was recorded was exactly 10 years ago – back in December 2009.

“The good news is that FHB activity has stepped up even further since the start of this year,” he says. “The new First Home Loan Deposit Scheme is already a big success and the official data will show more big gains for FHBs once it is released.”

During December, the FHB share of the owner- occupier market was highest in Western Australia (43%) followed by Victoria (41%), the Northern Territory (38%) and the ACT (33%).

This week’s figures also show that other areas of the housing market are recovering well. Property investor loans expanded for the third consecutive month and hit a 14-month high during December, Garrett says.