New figures reveal that almost 7,000 new mortgages - worth €1.22 billion - were issued in the first quarter of 2010.

The Irish Banking Federation/PriceWaterhouseCooper mortgage market profile survey says that the volume of lending in the first three months of the year is down 30% compared to the last quarter of 2009. It has declined by almost 37% compared to the same time last year.

It says that while all market segments recorded a fall, the first-time buyers segment saw the lowest rate of decline. First time buyers also remain the single biggest segment of the property market with a 33.5% share in volume terms.

Mover purchasers have increased their share of the overall market, up by 1.5% by value and 0.4% by volume.