The British Bankers’ Association said its members lent £11.2bn last month, taking the total to £110bn for 2013.
This figure was up 20 per cent up on the year before and was the biggest annual total since 2008, when the housing crisis took hold.
David Dooks, statistics director at the BBA, said government-backed schemes to get more first-time buyers on the property ladder had played their part.
He said: “Assistance schemes for mortgages are helping first-time buyers and housing chains generally, as housing market activity rises.”
He added that last year there were more approvals for house purchases than in any year since 2007, topping 400,000 for the first time since 2009.
However, that number is some way short of the 800,000 mark at the height of the housing boom in 2006.
Ian Broadbent, director of Lincolnshire-based Blue Sky Mortgages, said: “Housing prospects are very patchy across the northwest, with house prices falling in some areas. Incomes are also more modest here, so raising a deposit is still difficult.
“Having said that, we do not want a housing boom as that would be followed by a bust. The government’s help in this area is broadly having the right effect, so there is much to be positive about.”