The number of loan approvals for house purchase rose 4.5 per cent to 74,581 in January according to new figures from the Bank of England.
The December figure was 71,335 and the previous six-monthly average was 70,221.
There were 42,228 remortgage approvals in the first month of the year, compared to the six-monthly average of 40,306.
The Bank says the number of approvals for other purposes was 11,900, in line with the 12,136 average over the previous quarter.
Gross lending secured on dwellings was £21.3bn for the month and repayments were £17.7bn.
Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association executive director Peter Williams says: ”
“The mortgage market continues its momentum in January, with remortgaging taking the lead.
“The value of remortgaging rose 45 per cent over the previous year, despite the growing speculation that a base rate rise will be pushed back as far as 2019.
“The threat of a rate rise is no longer driving the remortgaging uplift – instead it is being supported by homeowners looking to improve their financial situation through cheaper monthly repayments.
“In particular, landlords are preparing for fewer tax reliefs – like the loss of the wear and tear allowance and restriction of mortgage interest deductability.”
E.surv director Richard Sexton says: “Short and sharp, a buy-to-let blitz is lifting house purchase approvals to a two year high.
“Landlords only have a few months left before the tax changes in April, when more punitive stamp duty charges on new purchases will come into play. We are seeing a last-minute lift in lending as landlords push through their purchases before this deadline.”