According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), mortgage lending hiked to £11.5bn last month, a 24% rise from February.
The figure also reflected a 3% rise compared to March 2009, when the market reached its nadir in the wake of the credit crunch.
The CML said that despite this rise in activity, the property market was still relatively subdued, pointing out that total mortgage lending in the first quarter of 2010 was still significantly lower than in the last quarter of 2009.
“Despite the increase in activity late last year and a subsequent fall early this year – due to the end of the stamp duty holiday – the underlying position looks to have barely changed,” said CML economist Paul Samter.
“But with the gradually improving economic backdrop and interest rates still low, we continue to expect a gentle improvement in market conditions later in the year,” he added.
The CML added that from next year, lenders would need to find around £300 billion in order to repay money borrowed from the government through emergency support schemes.
As a result, it said, the mortgage market would continue to be restricted.