Mortgages to the value of €331m were issued during the first quarter of this year, new figures show.
This compares to €999m worth of mortgages issued in the last quarter of 2012 and €450m worth in the first quarter of last year.
The Irish Banking Federation/PwC Mortgage market profile shows that 2,068 new mortgages were issued in the first three months of the year.
This was down almost 66% on the 6,043 mortgages issued in the fourth quarter of last year and 26.4% lower than the first quarter of 2012 when 2,630 new mortgages were issued.
The IBF says the drop is due to a front-loading of activity in the last quarter of 2012 ahead of the ending of mortgage relief and the fact that the first quarter of the year is normally the weakest for activity and the fourth quarter the strongest.
First time buyers and mover purchasers make up 82.1% of new mortgages issued, today's report noted.
''The lower level of new mortgage lending recorded in the first quarter comes as no surprise and has been well flatted in the monthly approvals figures published by IBF during the quarter,'' commented IBF's director of public affairs Felix O'Regan.
He said that lenders reported a ''healthy pipeline of borrower interest''. ''We can expect to see this reflected in the mortgage approval figures for April,'' he added.
Today's report shows that the average loan size in the first quarter was €160,036 - down 3.2% on the fourth quarter of 2012.