Mortgage lending hit £15 billion in June 2013 – its highest monthly level since October 2008, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
This was a 2% rise on the £14.7 billion advanced to homebuyers and remortgagers in May and 26% higher than the £11.9 billion figure seen in June 2012.
It takes gross mortgage lending for the second quarter of 2013 to £42 billion - a 24% increase on the previous three months and the highest quarterly figure since the last quarter of 2008.
CML chief economist Bob Pannell said: "Improvements in the cost and availability of mortgage credit are underpinning a meaningful recovery in the housing market.
"However, although the pace of first-time buyer activity is approaching a quarter of a million per annum, it is worth bearing in mind that this is still barely half of activity rates a decade earlier, and so far below what might be considered normal levels."
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said the outlook for the housing market continues to improve as increased mortgage availability, better rates and more choice at higher loan-to-values is reflected in the official numbers.
"However, while the lending numbers are the strongest they have been since 2008, this will be a long, slow recovery," he said. "Much ground has been lost and lending levels are running at a fraction of what they were at the height of the housing boom.
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"Government schemes such as Funding for Lending and Help to Buy are already seeing a positive impact though, and we expect this to continue when the mortgage guarantee element of Help to Buy is introduced in January."
The Council of Mortgage Lenders’ members are banks, building societies and other lenders who together undertake around 95% of all residential mortgage lending in the UK. There are 11.3 million mortgages in the UK, with loans worth over £1.2 trillion.