CML: Gross mortgage lending up 49pc

This matches November’s gross lending total, however, it is 49% higher than December 2012 (£11.4bn) and the highest total for a December since 2007.

This brings the estimated total for the year to £177bn, up from £143bn in 2012.

Gross lending for the fourth quarter of 2013 was therefore an estimated £52bn. This represents a 5% increase on the third quarter of last year and a 38% increase on the fourth quarter of 2012 (£37bn). This is the highest lending amount by quarter since quarter three of 2008.

Bob Pannell, CML chief economist, said: "Short-term growth prospects for the housing market and the wider economy look very positive.

“Mortgage lending was stronger than we expected in the closing months of 2013, but lenders expect little if any boost to borrower demand this quarter.

"While some of these gains reflect government schemes, the rationale for the positive narrative is a much broader one, reflecting such factors as the improving economy and jobs market, consumer confidence and competitive mortgage deals".

Andy Knee, chief executive of LMS, added: “Momentum is mounting for the mortgage market.

“Gross lending closed 2013 with the largest December figure since 2007 – which was also nearly 50% higher than the year before.

“The entire market, including remortgaging, now has a strong platform from which to make further strides this coming year.

“The competitive rates and attractive deals on offer are clearly enticing more and more borrowers back into the lending marketplace, bolstering confidence levels across the board in the process.

“The positivity engulfing the mortgage market is also reflective of budding optimism about the wider economy.

“Inflation has been wretched back under control, the jobs market is showing signs of growth and unemployment is falling.

“Even previously stagnant wages are looking like they are set to finally pick up later this year – this, together with the second phase of Help to Buy, should help to further reduce the burden of building a deposit.”