Strong growth in building society lending

* Building society gross advances amounted to £3,551 million in July, increasing from £2,812 million in June.

* Net advances were £1,224 million in July, up from £1,061 million in June.

* Approvals (loans agreed, but not yet made) increased to £3,681 million in July, from £3,212 million in June.

* In the savings market, building societies' had net inflows of £879 million in July, increasing from £865 million in June.

* Building society receipts into cash ISAs were £424 million for July.

Commenting on the mortgage market, Adrian Coles, Director-General of The Building Societies Association said: "A powerful performance by building societies saw their net lending rise to the highest level for three years. The figure for July was four and a half times greater than the disappointing performance in July 2001. The very high level of approvals outstanding indicates further strong growth in the second half of the year."

On the savings side, Mr Coles said: "Continuing instability in the equity markets has seen yet another month of strong inflows with net receipts, as in the last two months, at around £870 million."