Business levels were also up by 15% on an annual basis representing a sharp increase in the level of mortgage involvement from intermediaries.
John Heron, managing director of Paragon Mortgages, said: “The real acid test of any recovery is the volume of transactions. The market has been very dull for a very long time but evidence is now stacking up of a major shift in gear.
“Intermediaries are writing more mortgage business and are confident about writing more again in the near future.”
There has been a steady increase in the amount of mortgage cases dealt with since 2010.
Intermediaries appear to be positive about business in 2014, with 50% expecting to process more buy-to-let mortgages. The number of buy-to-let deals are expected to rise by 5% in the first quarter.
Some 56% of brokers also said availability of buy-to-let finance had improved In the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to 47% the year before.
Heron added: “Although the volume of mortgage business is increasing for many intermediaries, levels are still lower than they were pre-2008.
“There is a long way to go therefore before we have a market that we could regard as ‘normal’.”