The number of new mortgages and the amount of lending to home buyers fell in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.

The Irish Banking Federation/PwC mortage market profile shows banks advanced €2.5 billion in new mortgage loans in 2013, €141m less than in 2012.

Mortgage lending figures remain at levels not seen since the early 1970s. 

At the peak of the credit boom in 2006 and 2007 more than €10 billion in homeloans were being advanced each quarter, four times higher than the total figure for last year.

Earlier this year the Association of Expert Mortgage Advisors estimated the optimum figure for mortgage lending in Ireland is around €10 billion a year.

The IBF noted that the total number of mortgage loans issued during 2013 was down 5.6% compared to 2012.

It said this was partly due to the ending of tax relief on mortgage interest for first time buyers which it may have had an impact on demand for credit.