The number of mortgages taken out in Ireland is now running at 800 a day - a substantially higher number than previously estimated.

The figures come from a new detailed quarterly analysis of the mortgage market by the Irish Bankers Federation and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The new research shows that first-time buyers account for over 21% of all residential mortgage funds advanced. A breakdown of loan volumes by category also confirms the existence of an active switching market with 13% of loans used for this purpose.

The report shows that the total value of mortgage loans issued in the six months to the end of June was €18.567 billion with €10.130 billion of new lending in the second quarter of 2006. The value of mortgage lending in the second quarter of the year was 20% more than the previous quarter and 20.6% up on the same time last year.

In the second quarter of 2006, a total of 53,449 mortgage loans were granted. These loans can be split into five groups - first-time buyers (17.6%), mover purchasers (21.7%), purchasers of residential investment properties (13.3%), re-mortgages (13%) and top-up mortgages (34.4%).

The report points out that while forming the largest proportion in terms of numbers, top-up mortgages are the smallest of the loan categories in terms of value.

It also reveals that highest average loans are for residential investment properties and mover purchasers.

Borrowers investing in residential investment property have the highest average loan size at €270,657, while as would be expected, the lowest average loan size is in the top-category at €89,007.