Gross mortgage lending grew by 9 per cent between February and March, according to figures published today by the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
In March, lenders advanced £11.6bn to borrowers, up from £10.6bn the month before, but the figure was 8 per cent lower than the £12.6bn advanced in March 2012.
The CML says the March 2012 figure was distorted by the expiration of the stamp duty holiday up to £250,000 for first-time buyers.
Gross lending for the first quarter of 2013 is estimated to be £33.8bn, 9 per cent down on the £37.3bn advanced in the last quarter of 2012 but similar to the first quarter of 2012 when gross lending reached £33.7bn.
CML chief economist Bob Pannell says: “Conditions in the housing and mortgage markets continue to show signs of improving. The improvement in funding markets over the past year, reinforced by the incremental benefits of the Funding for Lending Scheme, has been the key catalyst behind stronger housing activity.
“The Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme – while still embryonic as yet – holds significant fire-power, and has the potential to increase activity from 2014.”