Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has warned mortgage interest relief, introduced to stimulate the property market in the Budget, won't be extended at the end of the year.

He was speaking this morning at the Property Industry Ireland conference in Dublin.

The incentive means first time home buyers receive mortgage interest relief at 25 per cent and non first home buyers receive relief at 15 per cent.

Currently mortgage interest relief runs for seven years.

Those applying by the end of this year will benefit from interest relief until 2019.

The Minister for Finance says he will not extend the date by which people can apply, i.e. the cut-off point for applications is the end of this year.

Tracker mortgages

The Department of Finance is to hold talks with banks about allowing people with tracker mortgages take their trackers with them when they move home.

John Moran head of the Department of Finance said the Department needed to work with the banks and the regulator on the issue.

He said he understood the issue was stopping people from trading up.

Many properties selling for cash

Also at today's conference, estate agent Sherry Fitzgerald said that four in ten properties it sells, are sold for cash.

It says there are 54,000 homes for sale nationwide, with the highest level of vacancies in counties Cavan, Leitrim and Roscommon.

Sherry Fitzgerald says that while there is a stabilisation of prices in Dublin, it could be several years before that happens nationwide.

In relation to mortgage interest relief, Mr Noonan warned potential purchasers should make sure there is sufficient time between purchase and mortgage drawdown in order to qualify.

The head of the Department of Finance John Moran told the conference there was discussion with banks about extending the period for which banks give mortgage approval which would give more flexibility to people looking to buy a home.

He added the banks with operations in Britain were examining the idea of giving mortgages on properties in Ireland to people with incomes in Britain.