The number of mortgages being accepted for the self-employed has increased despite stricter lending rules, according to the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA).

The number of 'non-standard borrowers', such as the self-employed and first-time buyers, has been at a record acceptance level since the recession required banks to tighten up their lending requirements.

The increase has reportedly been caused by the regulators' creation of a new 'regulatory sandbox' enabling and encouraging banks to create and pilot new products aimed specifically at these 'non-standard borrowers'.

Peter Williams, executive director of IMLA, said: “If lenders’ expectations are realised, 2016 should see the mortgage market broaden out and start providing greater support to the substantial and still growing non-standard segment of borrowers.

“Although recent conditions have supported standard homeowners, who are enjoying record low rates and attractive remortgaging options, niche consumers have found it harder to find their feet in the new regulatory landscape.

"So it is a very positive step that lenders are expanding their range of products to serve the growing number of non-standard borrowers.”

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