Mortgage approvals for first-time buyers dip as switching activity rises

New figures show a total of 4,185 mortgages got the thumbs-up last month

The number of mortgages approved in August rose 5.7 per cent compared to the same month a year earlier. But approvals for first-time buyers declined, new figures show.

According to data from Banking & Payments Federation Ireland, a total of 4,185 mortgages got the thumbs-up last month, down 0.9 per cent versus the 4,222 applications that were approved in July.

The combined value of approved mortgages was €931 million in August, unchanged on the preceding month, but up by 9.4 per cent on an annual basis.

The annualised volume of mortgage approvals reached 44,640 in the 12 months to end-August, with the combined value of approvals up 0.8 per cent to more than €9.9 billion.


Mover purchasers

The figures show 1,979, or 47.3 per cent, of all mortgages approved last month were for first-time buyers, while mover purchasers accounted for 1,187 or 28.4 per cent of the total.

Re-mortgage/switching approvals rose on a year-on-year basis – by 66.7 per cent in volume and by 81.3 per cent in value terms.

Felix O’Regan, director of public affairs at the federation, said the latest figures indicated continuing robust lending.

“While the volume of approvals for both first-time buyers and mover purchasers show a small year-on-year decline, the value for both show a year-on-year increase; and this is likely reflecting house price increases. At the same time, switching activity continues to be the main driver of growth . . . and this is likely reflecting further competition in the marketplace,” he said.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist