The total value of new mortgages issued in the first three months of the year stood at €6.226 billion, down nearly 20% from a figure of €7.8 billion the same time last year.

According to the Irish Banking Federation/ PricewaterhouseCoopers quarterly mortgage market profile, the number of new mortgages given out in the first quarter of this year was down 25% to 28,508.

The number of first-time buyers taking out mortgages dropped 45% compared with a year earlier.

First-time buyers and mover purchasers fell as a percentage of the market, accounting for over 15% and 18% respectively. Investors, at 13.3%, experienced a slight increase in terms of market share.

The IBF says that top-up mortgages retained the largest share of the market with almost 32% of mortgages issued in that category. The re-mortgaging or switching segment also grew its market share to 21.5%.

The quarterly survey also says that the average loan size increased for first-time buyers, mover purchasers and the re-mortgage (switching) segment of the market in the first quarter of 2008.