Gross lending leapt by 33.6 per cent year on year in January, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
The CML says gross lending hit an estimated £15.5bn in January – up from £11.6bn a year earlier.
However, January’s figure is down 8 per cent on the £16.7bn advanced in December.
CML chief economist Bob Pannell says: “Housing market indicators in the UK continue to be positive, although seas-onal factors are likely to have affected activity levels.
“Monthly approvals for house purchase averaged 70,000 in the final quarter of 2013, which is the strongest figure for six years.”
Pannell adds: “The Bank of England envisages that approvals may climb to 90,000 a month in the second and third quarters of 2014. This would seem to imply property transactions running at an annualised rate of one-and-a-half million or so.
“We think this may be over-optimistic given the growing anecdotal reports of a shortage of prospective sellers.”
Your Mortgage Decisions director Dominik Lipnicki says: “It is not quite the boom times but these figures do show that there is an increased confidence to borrow more.
“We are still nowhere near where we were and lending will grow more this year.”
Iress principal mortgage consultant Henry Woodcock says: “Despite the progress we have seen, we expect the market to hit a speed bump in the second quarter this year as lenders and borrowers alike come to terms with new regulations post-MMR, when the process of securing a mortgage will lengthen and become more complex.”