By Daniel Hunter

The number of mortgages approved last month has surged almost 40 per cent above last year's September figure, data showed Wednesday.

A total of 42,990 loans were approved in the four-week period, a level not seen since December 2009

The figure was up 10% on the prior month (August 2013: 38,834), giving a clear indication of growing consumer confidence, although the British Bankers Association (BBA), which published the data, said the level was still significantly lower than the highs seen at the end of 2006, when approvals totalled 78,117.

David Dooks, the BBA's Statistics Director, said: "September's figures build on the growing picture of improved consumer confidence, with stronger gross mortgage lending, rising house purchase approvals and increased consumer credit."

The figure comes amid concerns that government schemes such as 'Help to Buy' will result in a housing price bubble, but as noted by IHS Global Insight Economist Howard Archer, housing market activity was showing signs of marked improvement "even before the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme came into being earlier this month".

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