Gross lending by mutuals in December was £2.1bn, up 15% compared to £1.8bn in December 2010.
Savings balances at mutuals also increased by £4.0bn in 2011 compared to an increase of £0.2bn in 2010. Balances held with mutuals increased by £0.3bn in December, compared to an increase of £1.5bn in December 2010.
Adrian Coles, director-general of the Building Societies Association, says: “Activity in the housing market has been weak throughout 2011 with the number of transactions close to an all time low.
“New lending by mutuals, however, rose 16% in 2011 compared to 2010, whilst the UK’s major banks recorded a small reduction in lending over the same period.
“The housing market faces significant headwinds over the coming 12 months but mutuals are poised to take on these challenges and continue to offer market leading rates and innovative products to home movers and first-time buyers alike.”