More than 135,000 mortgages were approved last month, up 14.5% on March 2015 according to statistics released by the Bank of England today.
In total, 135,443 loans secured against dwellings were approved, 17,182 ahead of March 2015.
Comparing the first three months of this year to last year, there have been 21% more loan approvals so far in 2016.
The number of loan approvals for house purchase was 76,996 in March, ahead of the 65,360 average for the previous 23 months. For remortgages, the number of approvals was 44,521, ahead of the the 23 monthly average of 35,194. The number of approvals for other purposes was 13,926, compared to the average of 10,601 over the previous 23 months.
Comparing seasonally adjusted values, March was behind for February on approvals for house purchase, and marginally ahead of February for remortgages and approvals for other uses.
David Brown, CEO of estate agents Marsh & Parsons, said: “This was by no means a typical quarter. Activity in the opening three months of this year has been exceptionally skewed by the additional layer of Stamp Duty for both buy-to-let and second-home purchases.
“Naturally, the knee-jerk reaction among these groups has been to hurry through property purchases before the deadline, and make savings while they can. Second-home owners really jumped to it this spring, and were much more prominent in the market than we would typically expect.
“Now that the ruckus has passed, we’ll see much more orderly transactions over the summer months, as the market rebalances towards first-time buyers and other owner-occupiers for whom it will just be business as usual.”