Building societies approved 109,600 mortgage loans during the first three months of this year, a 32 per cent share of the 347,000 mortgage loans approved across the wider mortgage market.
The Building Societies Association’s figures for January to March showed gross mortgage lending by societies was £17.7bn, accounting for 28 per cent of the £62.5bn total lending in the UK during the period.
Net lending by building societies - gross lending minus repayments - was £6.1bn, a 48 per cent share of the £12.7bn total net lending across the market.
Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage policy at the BSA, noted this performance came despite “intensive competition” from the big five banks and smaller challengers.
Lending across the market was 40 per cent higher in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same period last year, fuelled by a surge in purchases ahead of the introduction of additional stamp duty on second homes in April.
Building societies hold 21 per cent of outstanding mortgages in the UK - worth £272.3bn at the end of March - yet approved 29 per cent of all mortgage loans.
The average mortgage rate offered by building societies in the period was 2.88 per cent, compared with the market average of 2.94 per cent, according to Moneyfacts figures.
The BSA represents all 44 UK building societies, which have total assets of over £345bn.
At its annual conference last week, the association touted the fact more than half its members will now lend to borrowers up to or beyond the age of 80, seven months after the body published a call for action on issues faced by older borrowers.