There was a “very strong pipeline of approvals” for mortgages last year, the Chief Executive of Banking & Payments Federation Ireland.
Newly released figures reveal that there were 5,433 mortgages approved in November - up 1.6% on October and 9.6% higher than November 2021.
It is, Brian Hayes believes, encouraging news amid a worsening economic climate.
“With all of the uncertainty around interest rates and all the uncertainty around the economy, the world and price inflation, we still saw that Irish banks and non-banks approved just short of 5,500 new mortgage approvals and about 46% of all of those approvals were to first-time buyers,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.
Construction has bounced back since lockdown; however, remains below a level needed to tackle the housing crisis in the long-term.
“Supply has come back after COVID,” Mr Hayes continued.
“We went through this 18 month, 24 month period in COVID where construction effectively stopped.
“So, there has been a very significant increase in the level of mortgage approvals and draw downs because there are more houses there.
“What we need to see is that continue; I think we’ll probably get to about 27 or 28,000 new starts for 2022.
“We need that to be 30 or 35,000 - north of that - on a consistent year on year basis.”
The construction industry has raised concern that inflation is putting the level of house building at risk and the number of construction notices issued by the State has declined in recent months.
“That creates uncertainty for supply in 2023 and 2024,” Mr Hayes.
“Still, it’s a very strong picture - notwithstanding the pressures that are there for people trying to get a foot on the housing market.”
Main image: A man walking past real estate agent signs on properties in Dublin. Picture by: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie