Mortgage approvals reached their highest levels for nearly two and half years last month according to figures from the Bank of England.
The figures show the number approvals were upto 105,000 in February from 94,000 in Janaury. February's figure highest since the method of collection was redefined in October 1997.
The approvals figures, which is above the average of 98,000 in the previous three months to Janaury, are fueling concern that the housing boom is spreading across England.
Nationwide Building Society reported house prices rose 2.2 per cent in February, up 15 per cent on th eprevious 12 months. The monthly rise was the highest since monthly records began in 1991.
The Monetary Policy Committee stresses that rising house prices are only one factor behind its decisions. It says although mortgage equity withdrawal has risen significantly in the past two quarters, it is still nowhere near the levels it reached in the late 1980s.