Brokers have welcomed latest Bank of England statistics that show a jump in mortgage approvals in February.
The increase was partly down to the rush of buy-to-let landlords looking to beat the new stamp duty surcharge which comes into force on 1 April, but it is also a sign of housing supply shortages, brokers say.
The latest Bank of England's Money and Credit Statistics report showed that mortgage approvals were higher than the monthly average over the past six months.
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “This is no surprise even though it would normally be a relatively quiet time of year before the housing market’s traditional spring rush."
"Landlords and second homebuyers have been keen to beat the stamp duty hike and we expect the number of mortgage approvals for March to also be high, before they fall back in April as the market takes a breather.”
Harris said remortgage numbers were steady and broadly in line with previous months. "Borrowers are taking advantage of record low fixed rates but there is no urgent motivation with interest rates unlikely to move for some months yet."
Jeremy Duncombe, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said demand for home ownership has continued its steady climb as potential buyers try to get a foot on the housing ladder.
“Unfortunately, there are still not enough properties available to satisfy the needs of the market.”
Steve Griffiths, head of sales and distribution at Kensington, welcomed the rise in mortgage approvals and property transactions. "This is good news for the market as more people are securing the mortgages they need.”
But he said more must be done to help the self-employed and contract workers, who still struggle to secure a mortgage.