Gross mortgage lending was up 4.6% year-on-year to £13.4bn in February, the BBA’s high street banking data shows.
On a net basis February’s net mortgage borrowing was 2.5% higher than the year before.
Eric Leenders, managing director for retail banking at the BBA, said: “Elevated approval volumes for house purchases and re-mortgaging experienced during the winter months fell back in February, to average levels seen throughout most of last year.
“Consumers’ use of credit cards and personal loans reflect last month’s increased spending figures.
“Businesses continue to exercise a cautious approach to borrowing, using cash reserves and alternative lending sources to finance their operations.”
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “At first glance these figures might look quite disappointing because net mortgage borrowing is down not only on a monthly but also an annualised basis.
“But when you consider that the figures for the month are still above the average for the same time last year and are being compared with a time when the market was much more active prior to the introduction of higher stamp duty for second homeowners and investors, you realise that they are not that bad.
“The numbers bear out what we are finding on the high street – that people are in the market but they are negotiating hard and taking longer to make their minds up before taking the plunge.
“The other bit of potential good news for the market is that remortgaging numbers are relatively low because when these numbers are rising it is often a sign that people want to stay put rather than look for their next property.”
Bhupender Singh, chief executive of Intelenet Global Services, part of Blackstone Group, said: “Low interest rates have been a deciding factor for people looking to take out a mortgage.
“As homeowners both existing and new, take advantage of low interest rates, it makes it more important than ever to ensure banks are able to cater to these surges in demand.
“Developments in the mortgage space is connecting financial advisers and mortgage brokers with nearby customers, whenever and wherever they are needed, in order to ensure the ongoing provision of an in-person service when trying to secure a mortgage.”
Singh added: “When getting onto the property ladder, customers are looking for the best deals, including a quick turnaround so they can snap up their dream home as quickly as possible.
“The industry can profit by embracing AI and automation as a way to speed up the application process. We have seen one national bank use tech to shorten the approval time from 11 days to 48 hours.”