Banks have approved the highest number of mortgages for almost two years as the rush to purchase buy to let properties continues apace.
The British Bankers' Association says its members approved 47,509 loans for house purchase in January on a seasonally adjusted basis - its highest since February 2014. That was up from a seven-month low of 43,660 in December and 27 per cent higher than the same time last year.
"The start of the year has seen a significant rise in mortgage borrowing. It seems that this has been driven, in part, by borrowers looking to get ahead of the increases in stamp duty for buy to let and second home buyers scheduled to come into effect in April" says BBA chief economist Richard Woolhouse.
Separate data released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders show house purchase lending increasing across Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the final quarter of last year.
In Wales, home-owner house purchase lending totalled 7,900 loans, which is 14 per cent higher than for the same period of 2014. A similar 14 per cent year-on-year rise was seen in Scotland, while Northern Ireland recorded a modest three per cent increase.