Higher levels of lending for housing in December and January show the housing market may be starting on the road to recovery.

The value of housing loans approved inched up by $124m, less than one per cent, in January to $18.88bn, according to data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday.

That followed a rise of $1.055bn or 6% in December.

The two monthly rises have broken lending out of a flat trend that set in after a steep slide in the first half of 2008.

The Age, The Australian