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Q3 mortgage approvals up by a third as mortgage market recovery continues

There was a significant increase in mortgage approvals in September, but the value of mortgages drawn down in the latest quarter was still down significantly on the same period last year.

That is according to the latest figures from the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland, which show that first time buyers still account for the bulk of activity in the mortgage market.

4,621 mortgages were approved in September, an increase of around a fifth on a monthly and yearly basis.

57% of approvals in the month were accounted for by first time buyers with mover-purchasers accounting for almost 26%.

The value of mortgages approved stood at €1.12 billion, an increase of 18.5% from August.

Compared to September last year, the value of approvals had risen by over a third.

September approvals accounted for over half of total approvals – in volume and value terms – for the entire third quarter, the figures show.

8,220 new mortgages to the value of €1.957 billion were drawn down by borrowers during the three month period to the end of September.

When compared to the previous three month period, drawdowns were up over a fifth in volume and just over a third in value terms.

However, it amounts to a fall of just over 30% in volume and 25.8% in value on the corresponding third quarter of last year, underlining the extent to which the mortgage market is still recovering from the pandemic related slowdown in activity.

Brian Hayes, CEO of the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland, said the figures pointed to good momentum in the market in September in particular, but he said there were reasons to be cautious.

“The increased activity in mortgage approvals we’ve seen in September is encouraging and provides a much improved pipeline for drawdowns in the months ahead,” he said.

“It remains to be seen however what impact the latest Covid-19 public health measures with restricted economic activity is likely to have on prospective homebuyers and the mortgage market,” he added.

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