There has been a slowdown in the number of mortgages approved with €1.2bn in new loans issued by Irish banks in April.
Figures from the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) show a total of 4,304 mortgages were approved in April, a fall of 5.9% on March and of 1.3% compared to April 2021. First-time buyers (FTB) accounted for 53.3% of those approved mortgages.
Brian Hayes, Chief Executive of the BPFI said that while figures show a slowdown, they come in a period of historically high levels. "It’s not unexpected to see some dips like we have during April," he said.
"More than 54,000 mortgages were approved in the 12 months ending April 2022, with more than 29,000 going to FTBs alone. These are still close to the highest levels seen since the data series began in 2011."
The BPFI said mortgage switching figures meanwhile remain high reflecting both the competition in the market and the fact that mortgage customers continue to shop around for better rates.
With interest rates set to increase this year, Trevor Grant, the Chairperson of the Association of Irish Mortgage Advisors said existing and potential homeowners are now looking at fixed-rate mortgages.
"We are seeing a significantly heightened interest from second-time buyers, movers and some FTBs in long-term, fixed-rate options of 10 years plus. Also, an ongoing high volume of existing mortgage holders seeing if they can obtain better terms from the market compared to what their own lender will offer them," he said.
Dermot O'Leary of Goodbodys said the stand-out feature of the recent trends in mortgage approvals is the ongoing boom in remortgaging activity.
"In the three months to April 2022, remortgaging approvals grew by 37% in volume terms up 48% year-on-year by value and was 55% higher than 2019 levels."
"This reflects a combination of market consolidation, the rising importance of new market players and products and an eagerness to lock in current deals ahead of imminent rate rises," he said.