Mortgage approvals increased in January for both house purchase and remortgaging to 67,478 and 49,242 respectively, according to Bank of England Money and Credit statistics.
It was also revealed that the annual growth in secured lending was unchanged at 3.3% in January, with net lending standing at £3.4bn.
Steve Seal, director of sales and marketing at Bluestone Mortgages, said: “With low interest rates and a variety of government schemes available to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder, consumer appetite remains strong, as evidenced by recent lending figures.
“The problem, however, is that many people are still struggling to get access to mortgages. Contractors, the self-employed, and those with adverse credit histories do not always fit traditional lending criteria and are often ruled out by automatic credit scoring.
“With self-employed workers making up nearly 15% of the UK workforce, this is hugely unfair. These customers are most in need of a personalised underwriting experience and it is therefore the responsibility of lenders and brokers to ensure these customers are rightfully served.”
Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, added: “After recording a three-year low in mortgage approvals last month, these results encouragingly reflect what we are seeing on the high street i.e. buyers and sellers are finding common price ground and moving home after often hard and protracted negotiations.
“When taken together with Nationwide house price data released earlier today, it shows too much reliance should not be placed on one month’s figures, particularly at this volatile time of year.
“Looking forward, we are expecting more of the same unless a Brexit breakthrough lifts the cloud of uncertainty for those holding back from buying or selling.”