Gross mortgage lending totalled £11.7bn in December 2011, 12% higher than the same period a year ago, according to data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
On a monthly basis, however, gross lending fell by 12% from the £13.2bn advanced in November.
In Q4 2011 as a whole, gross mortgage lending totalled £37.3bn, down from £39.2bn in Q3 but 11% higher when compared to the same period in 2010.
The December figure brings the total amount lent in 2011 to £140bn.
Bob Pannell, chief economist at the CML, says: “The closing months of 2011 saw stronger mortgage lending activity and housing transactions, despite the fact that short-term economic prospects are challenging.
“There is a glimmer of light ahead for households in that real incomes could stabilise and perhaps even start rising by the end of the year.
“But, continuing eurozone problems mean that mortgage funding prospects are uncertain, so overall UK mortgage market conditions for the year ahead remain difficult to call.”