The number of first-time buyers being approved for mortgages hit historic levels at the end of last year.
That’s according to the latest report from the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).
The trend has come amid an overall slowdown in mortgage activity. In November 2023, a total of 4,202 mortgages were approved, which represented a year-on-year decline of 22.7% and a month-on-month decrease of 1.7%.
First-time buyers represented more than 61% of the total volume of mortgages approved during the month. This brought the number of approved first-time buyer mortgages to 30,550 in the 12-month period up to the end of November.
Chief executive of the BPFI, Brian Hayes, said these approvals mean first-time buyers' mortgages “reached historic highs once again” valued at more than €8.8 billion.
“This is the highest volume and value since the series began in 2010. This reflects sustained upward first-time buyer trends throughout most of 2023,” he said.
“The values of first-time buyer approvals rose by 8.6% reflecting higher housing prices as the average first-time buyer mortgage value reached €294,836, some €19,000 more than in November 2022 (€275,957) and the second highest value recorded since our data series began.”
Hayes added that in the coming months, there may be a “moderation in the growth” of first-time buyer approvals.
The latest figures from the BPFI Mortgage Approvals Report for November 2023 showed the overall value of mortgage approvals fell by 0.5% month-on-month and declined by 19.4% year-on-year.
The total value of mortgages approved in November was €1.208 billion, with first-time buyer accounting for €759 million of that amount. Mover purchasers represented €317 million, or 26.2%, of the total.
Re-mortgage and switching activity in the mortgage market decreased by 75% in volume terms year-on-year with just 355 mortgages approves in this group during the month, down from 1,419 in November 2022.
Hayes said the wider slowdown in the mortgage market has been largely driven by lower switching levels.
“However, mortgage activity has remained very strong in the past year with 50,470 mortgages valued at almost €14.4 billion approved in the 12 months ending November.”
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