The UK housing market appears to be "waking up" after a quiet period in spring, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has said.
It said homeowners took out 49,000 loans in May, the highest number since December last year.
That compares with 48,300 loans taken out in April.
Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed annual UK house price inflation rose to 5.7% in May, up from 5.5% in April.
"House purchase lending in May was slightly up on the previous month, suggesting the market might be waking up after a subdued first quarter," said Paul Smee, the director general of the CML.
However, lending levels were still lower than they were a year ago.
The ONS figures showed that, in the year to May, house prices in England rose by 5.8%, in Scotland they climbed 2.9%, and prices were 2.5% higher in Wales.
However, the biggest increase came in Northern Ireland where prices increased by 10.5%.
House prices in London rose by just 4.7% - below the average for the UK - the ONS said.
The average house price was £274,000, up from £271,000 in April.