Banks approved 45,892 mortgages for house purchases last month - a 20 per cent rise on the February last year, with the rise being attributed almost wholly to a rush from buy to let purchasers.
Last month’s figure is actually down from the 46,916 recorded in January but is still far above the seasonal norm according to the British Bankers' Association.
"It appears that borrowers are continuing to try to get ahead of the increases in stamp duty for buy to let and second home buyers scheduled to come into effect next month" says BBA chief economist Richard Woolhouse.
The BBA figures do not include lending by mutually owned building societies, which accounts for about 30 per cent of mortgages.
“Underneath that immediate trend there is a strong base of homeowners remortgaging to take advantage of record low fixed rate deals. The bottom of the market is seeing sustainable growth too, as low inflation and rising wages help first-timers to save. Landlords, re-mortgagors and first-time buyers are the triad of market sectors boosting lending levels” according to Richard Sexton, director of chartered surveyor e.surv.