Mortgage approvals by building societies doubled to £1.5bn in March, figures show.
According to the Building Societies Association (BSA), approvals soared from just £742m in February.
Gross lending amounted to £1.4bn in March, compared to £3.6bn the previous year, although building societies also experienced a small net withdrawal of £196m from savings accounts in March. However, with interest credited, balances rose by £2,140m.
Adrian Coles, director-general of the BSA, says even adjusting for seasonal influences, the approvals were the highest since November.
"Although this may suggest a very slight recovery in activity in the housing market over the next few months the environment nevertheless remains very challenging," he says.
"The Bank rate was reduced to 0.5% at the beginning of March and the figures show the impact of low interest rates and economic conditions on people's ability and willingness to save."
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