MORTGAGE lenders have reported their strongest January since 2008 in further signs that the housing market revival is set to gather pace in 2014.

Around £15.5 billion worth of mortgages were handed out last month, a figure which has risen by one-third compared with January 2013 when £11.6bn worth of home loans were advanced, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

January's figure is down 8% compared with lending levels in December 2013.

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CML said some market predictions for house sales this year could be "over-optimistic", amid reports pointing to a shortage of house sellers in some areas.