Mortgage approvals hit a six-month high in March, but they're still about 14 per cent lower than a year ago, according to data released by the British Bankers' Association (BBA) today.
Mortgage approvals for house purchase rose to 38,751 in March, up from 37,453 in February and the largest amount since September last year.
"The BBA data indicates that housing market activity is now improving gradually after losing appreciable momentum in the latter months of 2014," said Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS.
However mortgage approvals were still down from the 76-month high of 49,325 seen in January 2014. This is largely due to the introduction of tighter regulations on mortgage lenders, requiring them to more rigorously vet potential borrowers.
The BBA data is a good indicator of what we can expect from the Bank of England lending data, which is due out on Friday.
The last batch of data from Threadneedle Street showed mortgage approvals hit a six-month high in February, marking the third consecutive month of growth since approvals skidded to a 17-month low in November.