Mortgage approvals in November hit record level

Second half of 2020 sees strong rebound in buyer activity, says banking group

November saw solid growth in mover purchase activity. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The value of mortgage approvals in the Republic hit a record level in November, according to Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).

A total of 5,198 mortgages were approved last month, up 24 per cent on the same month last year, the banking industry group said.

The value of mortgages approved during the month was put at €1.28 billion, the highest level since the series began in 2011.

Severe restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus had dampened activity in the State’s housing market earlier this year but there had been a strong bounce-back in activity since late summer.


First-time buyers (FTBs), the most active segment of the market, accounted for 54 per cent of the new mortgages approved in November.

"Our latest mortgage approvals data shows continued strong activity in November with approval values at their highest since BPFI began collating this data in 2011, despite the fact that the country was in lockdown during this time," chief executive Brian Hayes said.

“Interestingly November saw solid growth in mover purchase activity, which was in part driven by a significant increase in the average mortgage approval – the average mover purchase approval exceeded €280,000 for the first time, at €282,443,” he said.

“And even though mortgage approvals are down 15 per cent in volume terms and 9.9 per cent in value terms in the year to date, the continued strong activity we have in November represents a robust pipeline for drawdown activity, which we are likely to see coming through in the coming months,” he said.

The BPFI’s figures show remortgage/switching mortgage approval volumes rose 18 per cent year on year to 620, while the number of top-up approvals fell 19 per cent year-on-year to 242.

Residential investment letting approvals remained static year on year at 137.

The Central Bank of Ireland has ruled out a temporary loosening of mortgage lending rules during the coronavirus crisis while warning that the imbalance between housing demand and supply is likely to persist "for an extended period".

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times