Buy to let borrowing hit a five-year peak in the second quarter of the year as borrowers took out 40,000 mortgages worth more than £5 billion, according to the bank and building society trade body.
However, the Council of Mortgage Lenders points out that although buy to let lending is bouncing back, the number of mortgages and amount advanced is still far short of the market peak prior to the house price crash in 2007.
Nevertheless, the number of loans was up a fifth on the 33,500 advanced in the first three months of 2013, while the amount borrowed was £0.8 billion (21%) higher.
Looking at the trend over the past year, the number of loans was up 19%, while lending increased by £1.2 billion.
Landlords split borrowing almost 50:50 between buying new homes to let and remortgaging existing private rental properties.
The CML also revealed buy to let is increasing market share and now comprises 13.3% of all lending, compared with 12.9% at the same time last year.
Landlords owe buy to let lenders a combined £168.5 billion across 1.48 million loans.
Buy to let mortgages more than three months in arrears made up 8.4% of the total, in line with the first quarter, but 9.7% less than a year earlier. The repossession rate of 0.09%, was higher than that of 0.07% in the wider mortgage market, but fell from 0.11% in the previous quarter.
CML head of policy Jackie Bennett said: “Strong rental demand is contributing to the continuing expansion of the buy-to-let sector, but growth is also being helped by improved conditions in funding markets and more widespread availability of mortgages.
“These conditions are creating more opportunities for landlords to remortgage, as well as helping to fund increased activity in the mortgage market more generally. This spring has seen the continuing recovery of the buy-to-let market.”