Mortgages worth more than €2.3bn were drawn down during the first half of 2016

The Central Bank says Ireland's household debt sustainability is improving - but we are still carrying more debt than our EU neighbours...

Property prices, Dublin, CSO, rest of Ireland, apartments, increase, Savills

Picture shows Sherry Fitzgerald and Douglas Newman Good For Sale and Auction signs in Dublin city centre | Image:

Mortgage loans worth €2.3bn were approved by banks in the first half of this year according to the Central Bank's analysis on residential mortgage lending between January and June.

The value of new mortgage loans increased by 17% year-on-year in the third quarter - while the number of loans drawn down was 12% higher - the Central Bank's separate Household Credit Market Report states.

The largest share of new lending, some 48%, went to first-time buyers.

A significant amount of home buyers are managing to sidestep the Central Bank's mortgage lending rules - of the total 12,339 new mortgage loans - 900 are listed as being outside of the scope of the bank's controversial lending rules according to the Economic Letter.

The average loan drawn down by first time buyers in scope of the regulations was €180,011, with an average property price of €244,320 and average income of €65,944.  

For all other buyers the average loan drawn down and in scope of the regulations was €211,662, with an average property price of €380,752 and an average income of €105,473.

The standard variable rate on new lending for principal dwelling house mortgages was 3.6% during the second quarter - that's down from 4.13% in 2015.

"Household debt sustainability in Ireland continues to improve with both debt-to-income and debt-to-asset levels decreasing.  However, Irish household indebtedness remains high in a European context," the Central Bank notes.