Mortgage lending in 2015 was the highest for seven years, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
It says homeowners borrowed £220.3bn last year, up 8% on 2014 and the highest since 2008's total of £247.8bn.
However, the figure is still well below the £356bn lent at the peak of the property market in 2007.
The CML said lending had recovered faster than expected. Growing wages, falling unemployment and cheap mortgage deals were among the reasons.
Nevertheless, it said the outlook for 2016 was less certain.
"The supply of existing and new properties on the market remains weak, and affordability pressures weigh on activity," said CML economist Mohammad Jamei.
"There is an added element of uncertainty as we wait to see the impact of tax changes on the buy-to-let sector."
Buy-to-let landlords face an increase in stamp duty from April, and a reduction in tax relief from 2017.
Sam: 21st Jan 2016 14:54:00
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