LENDING at Wimborne-based Teachers Building Society increased by 27 per cent in 2013 over the previous year.

The mutual lender says the total includes a 14 per cent increase in the amount lent to first-time buyers.

The society, which specialises in lending to education profes-sionals, already lends money to people of any occupation in Dorset. It extended its reach by offering its mortgage service to non-teachers in Hampshire from last November.

The surge came in the same year the number of first-time buyers rose 22 per cent nationally.

Teachers launched a 95 per cent loan-to-value mortgage last March.

Teachers chief executive James Bawa says: “We were founded to help people to buy their own homes and we continue to do all we can to help that dream become a reality, both for people working in education and those on our doorstep in Dorset and now Hamp-shire.

“Lending to first-time buyers represents 27 per cent of our loan book for 2013 and it’s an area we really want to keep the focus on. “First-time buyers are crucial for the health of the housing market and wider economy and we’ve been very pleased to see the property market begin to recover.”