Value of Irish mortgage approvals jumps by 68%

House prices are up, rents are up, and mortgage approvals are through the roof...

New figures from the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) show that the value of mortgage approvals grew by 68% in February year-on-year.

The number of approvals was 52% higher as 31,590 were drawn down - including 17,965 for first time buyers (FTB).

The BPFI notes that the annual comparisons are affected by weak drawdowns in February 2016 as a result of changes to lender processes - but the upward trend is clearly evident over a longer time frame.

New entrants are described as the "key driver" of this upswing. The number of FTB mortgages approved grew by 61% in 12 months.

The value of FTB mortgage approvals grew by a hefty 86% year on year.

The requirement to have a 20% deposit for properties above €220,000 introduced by the Central Bank in February 2015 was done away with last year in an effort to help people looking to buy their first house.

"We do not have sufficient evidence to suggest that the Help-to-Buy scheme could be pushing prices at a faster pace, but in a supply-constrained market this is one of the side-effects of demand-side stimuli," the BPFI commented.

The number of approvals for mover-purchasers grew by 37% - and the volume was up by 50%.

Commenting on the broader market, the BPFI adds that a shortage of supply means that house prices will continue to rise.

Up and up

It was revealed yesterday that the average price of a three-bed semi-detached house in Ireland has risen to €209,944 - that's 10.9% higher than 12 months ago.

As you might expect, Dublin is leading the charge. The average price in the capital is almost twice the national average at €404,167 according to new figures from the Real Estate Alliance (REA).