February residential and buy-to-let mortgage sales totalled £16.6bn, a jump of 39 per cent on January, research by Equifax Touchstone analysis of the intermediary marketplace has shown.

Buy-to-let sales surged by 40.3 per cent on January’s figures, while residential sales jumped 38.6 per cent. The year-on-year growth for buy-to-let and residential mortgage approvals stood at 52.9 and 30.4 per cent respectively.

The figures also increased in every regional area, with London leading the pack, rising by 50.6 per cent on January. The rest of the UK followed closely, with the Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north west all growing by over 40 per cent and all other regions increasing in excess of 30 per cent.

Equifax Touchstone’s data, which accounts for 92 per cent of the intermediated lending market, showed the average value of a residential mortgage in February was £192,568 – compared to £177,067 in 2015 – and £157,491 for buy-to-let – up from £151,014 last year.

The firm said that with the imminent changes in stamp duty on buy-to-let property, sales had always been expected to increase in February.

“However, the residential numbers have taken many market observers by surprise, also increasing sharply and resulting in the strongest month for mortgage sales since the 2008 market crash.

“We fully predict sales volumes to remain strong in March, and it will be very interesting to see how the market copes with the inevitable pressures that come with the increased demand.”

In the last couple of days, Rightmove stated that the price of property coming to the market increased by 2.9 per cent in February, hitting a new high of £299,287, while the Office for National Statistics reported that average UK house prices increased by 7.9 per cent over the year to January, up from 6.7 per cent in the year to December.

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