House purchase lending approvals reached 85,432 in January, an increase of 20.6 per cent since December 2015 and the highest number of monthly approvals since October 2007, when they reached 87,594.
On an annual basis, house purchase lending has risen 39.3 per cent from 61,341 approved loans in January 2015.
E.surv director Richard Sector, said: “Buy-to-let approvals contributed to the growth in January home lending. Concerns about the sector’s growth have sparked a wave of legislation but as stamp duty changes come into effect this April, there’s been a rush to get buy-to-let loans approved.”
From spring, the government will introduce a three per cent stamp duty surcharge on purchases by buy-to-let and investors and second home buyers in a bid to free up housing for owner-occupiers.
A survey released today by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) indicated that 74 per cent of respondents expecting there to be a further increase in buy-to-let purchases before April.
The rush to acquire buy to let property is also having a knock on effect on prices, with 49 per cent more surveyors reporting prices to have risen in January, RICS said.
New buyer registrations and property listings have grown and supply has increased but not enough to meet demand from housebuyers, RICS warned.
Chief Economist, Simon Rubinsohn said: “The rise in new instructions in January, although modest, is very welcome. However with buy to let investors rushing to get into the market ahead of the stamp duty hike, the near term pressure on prices is if anything intensifying despite a higher level of supply.”