Mortgage lending was 10% higher than a year ago during January as first-time buyers rushed to complete deals before the end of a stamp duty amnesty.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said its year-on-year figures improved for the sixth month in a row after its members lent £10.5 billion in January.
Although 14% weaker than December because of seasonal factors, the CML said the performance was in line with improved sentiment in the housing market.
It believes the March 24 deadline for the end of the stamp-duty free period for first-time buyers on properties under £250,000 has boosted activity.
CML chief economist Bob Pannell said: “Should inflationary pressures continue to fall back, the squeeze on household finances should ease progressively and help support stronger economic recovery going into the second half of the year.
“This can only be good news for the housing market further down the track.”