New figures today show that a total of 4,482 new mortgages - worth €750m - were drawn down by borrowers in the third quarter of this year.

The Irish Banking Federation/PwC Mortgage Market Profile says this is an increase of 12% on the same time last year and a rise of almost 39% on the second quarter of the year - albeit from a relatively low base.

First time buyers and mover-purchasers were still the dominant buyers in the three month period from July to September and accounted for 86% of new mortgages issued. First time buyers were the largest segment at 51.3%.

The IBF noted that this is only the second quarter since the fourth quarter of 2010 that the number of mortgages taken out has exceeded 4,000.

Today's figures show that the average loan size in the third quarter was €167,276, up 4.4% from the third quarter and an increase of 0.4% on the same time last year.

The IBF noted that the average re-mortgage loan value rose by over 52% to €209,677 - the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2008.

Commenting on today's figures, the IBF's chief executive Noel Brett said they are a positive indicator of renewed borrower confidence and activity in the mortgage market.

"These mortgage drawdown figures are indicative of the emergence of the new shape of Irish banking built on sustainable, fully-functioning and profitable banks.  Achieving this will be challenging as we rebuild a banking sector which can play its optimum role in Ireland’s economic development post Troika," Mr Brett added.