MORTGAGE approvals by a forecast-beating two per cent in April.
The Bank of England said approvals edged up to 49,871 in April from 49,008 in March and the highest since December.
However, net mortgage lending rose less than expected, up £490m in April from £168m in March and below forecasts for a rise of £700m.
Analyst Vicky Redwood at Capital Economics said: “The latest figures suggest that housing market activity is still languishing at relatively low levels.
"What’s more, with consumer confidence weakening again, credit conditions slow to loosen and a fiscal squeeze looming, we still think that approvals will struggle to rise any more quickly than this."
Meanwhile unsecured lending to consumers fell by £136m.