The first quarter of the year saw a rise in the number and value of mortgages being approved but from a low base, according to the latest Irish Banking Federation figures.

Over 4,500 mortgages were approved during the first three months of the year, 51% higher than in the first quarter of 2013.

The first quarter of the year is traditionally the weakest of the year for mortage approvals.

The comparable figures for 2013 were also particularly low relative to historic averages but the trend so far in 2014 has been for higher numbers of approvals.

The average value of mortgage being approved is also slightly higher at €166,880, an increase of 3.4% year-on-year.