Cantillon: Figures show mortgage controls working

Mortgage approvals for house purchases were €447m in May, up 12% on the year

There can be little doubt that the controls on mortgage lending introduced at the start of the year are working. The latest figures for house prices and mortgage approvals all point towards a market growing at something close to a sustainable rate.

Mortgage approvals for house purchase were €447 million in May, up 12 per cent on the year, according to the Banking and Payments Federation. This compares with annual growth of 60 per cent recorded in the first quarter of the year. The size of the average mortgage has also fallen from €195,658 to €190,456.

Likewise the most recent figures from property site – owned by The Irish Times Ltd – point towards a significant moderation in house prices with asking prices up 1.7 per cent nationally and 2.3 per cent in Dublin.

The Central Bank will no doubt be pleased to have found a policy tool that actually works. The problem, however, may be that the measures work too well and it could find itself under pressure from various quarters to pull back if growth falls further or stalls.


Davy pointed out yesterday that the rate of slowdown in mortgage lending suggests there are downside risks to its forecast for mortgage lending to grow by €4.5 billion in 2015.

The bank will no doubt argue that the property market is not its concern and that its policies are actually aimed at stopping the bank’s overextending them selves.

This will be of little comfort to voters who feel locked out of the house market and could lead to pressure on the Government to intervene.