Nearly 90,000 new loans were approved in the final three months of the year with total lending from all mortgage providers falling from £55.3bn to £51.1bn over the same period.
Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage policy at the BSA said: “Many societies have benefited from their individual approach to underwriting.
“This is a particular benefit for consumers who don’t quite fit the borrower profile of the mass-market automated lenders and for people who need something a little different, like self-build or family guarantee style mortgages.
“Competition will be stiff in 2015, especially now that an increase in the bank base rate this year looks to be out, even to the point of the Bank of England stating that a drop in this rate, whilst unlikely, is a tool that will be used if necessary.
“We saw mortgage demand come off the boil at the end of last year. Now, uncertainty around the general election and matters further afield like the fate of Greece and the Euro zone may well have a dampening effect, although consumers should take heart from the fact that mortgage availability is good.”
During 2014, building societies provided 26% of all mortgage lending in the UK with gross lending of £52.6bn during the year, out of a total of £204.4bn lending by all mortgage lenders. This performance was well above the sector’s more natural market share of 19%. Over the year societies approved mortgage loans to over 373,000 homebuyers.