This is £1bn more than the previous month and 8% higher than October last year (£17.5bn). The increase makes it the highest lending total for an October since 2008 (£18.6bn).
CML economist Mohammed Jamei said: “The market is in a steadier state than it was earlier in the year.
“As the temporary impact of implementing the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) fades, a clearer picture of the mortgage and housing market is emerging. Nearly all indicators in the housing market align with our view of a gentle easing in market conditions.
“While the housing market has cooled in recent months, mortgage lending continues to be underpinned by positive factors. With expectations of the first interest rate rise moving to the fourth quarter of next year, as well as positive forecasts for growth, pay and unemployment, there is potential for market activity to gain traction in the new year.”
Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said: “Many lenders are cutting their rates in an effort to generate more business, particularly as the introduction of the Mortgage Market Review slowed things down earlier this year. There are some great mortgage offers around for those buying or remortgaging, and this will continue well into next year.”
But Harris said innovation needed to come with the rate cuts. He said products aimed at older borrowers struggling to get a mortgage, remortgage or guarantee a child’s mortgage were needed.
Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), said: “The monthly rise in lending for October shows there’s plenty of life left in the market following the MMR. Successive falls in the two previous months were most likely a delayed effect as applications slowed during the switchover. But the signs are that activity is back up and running, with lenders firing on all cylinders to record the second highest monthly lending total of the year.