As a result, mutuals have a 27 per cent market share.
In total, societies now have outstanding mortgage balances worth £327.1 bn, an increase of 8 per cent from the same point last year, while net lending rose by 14 per cent in the quarter to hit £4.9bn.
Across the quarter mutuals approved 120,626 new mortgages, around one in three new home loans over the period. That’s an increase of six per cent on the previous year when 113,379 were approved.
Of those, almost 25,000 went to first-time buyers.
It was a similarly positive story on the savings side, with societies enjoying overall savings balances of £284.7bn in the quarter, up five per cent on the same period in 2018.
Savings balances at mutuals rose by £3.8bn during the quarter, compared to a £3.2bn increase in the first quarter last year.
The personal approach
Robin Fieth, chief executive of the BSA, suggested that while there has been little growth overall in the mortgage market in recent years, “homebuyers are evidently turning to building societies more often when securing mortgage finance”.
He added: “In the first quarter of the year, societies accounted for over half of the growth in the market. Building societies understand that people can have complex needs and that sometimes a more personalised approach to mortgage lending is required.”