The monthly increase in gross mortgage lending to 26.1bn from 24.1bn in March, comes after two months of decline, although the figures are 5 per cent down on April 2007.
Remortgaging accounted for 42 per cent of gross lending and proving more resilient than purchase as large numbers of borrowers come off fixed-rate mortgages.
There was a rise in the proportion of borrowers taking out fixed-rate products, increasing to 59 per cent from 54 per cent in March.
Director general Michael Coogan says: “House purchase lending volumes continue to be lower than last year’s levels and there will be a further weakening in coming months as recent approvals data has shown.
“Tighter criteria make it more difficult for some borrowers to get a mortgage but they also reduce risk in a slower housing market. There has been a resurgence of fixed-rate lending as borrowers are seeking certainty. This trend is likely to continue as the anticipation of future bank base rate cuts has diminished.”