The number of mortgages approved for house purchase jumped to a 17-month high during July as buyers continued to return to the property market, figures showed.
A total of 38,181 loans were approved for people buying a home, 77% more than in July last year and the highest level since February 2008, according to the British Bankers' Association yesterday.
There was also a rise in total mortgage advances, with £8.4bn lent during the month, up from £8.1bn.
But despite the increase the BBA said the figures were below seasonal expectations.
It added that new lending was being offset by people reducing their mortgage debt, with net lending, which strips out redemptions and repayments, falling to £1.6bn, its lowest level since October 2000.
The BBA said slower housing market activity meant it was taking longer for mortgage approvals for house purchase to work through into the gross and net lending figures.
It added that the number of people remortgaging continued to be subdued, with only 30,600 loans arranged by people switching to a better deal during the month.
But the group said the figure appeared to have stabilised and was slightly up on both the previous month and the recent six month average.
The number of people withdrawing equity from their home or taking out a mortgage on a buy-to-let property continued to fall in July to reach its lowest level since October 1997 of 18,509.