Almost €3.9bn in new mortgage lending was drawn down last year, according to the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland and PwC, up more than 54% year-on-year.

A total of €3.85bn was drawn down in the mortgage market last year, according to the survey, with more than a third of that happening in the final three months of the year.

The number of draw-downs was up 47.6% year-on-year at 22,119 – pointing to an increase in the average loan size.

First time buyers represented more than half of all mortgage draw-downs last year, according to the BPFI report, though slightly less than the total value of loans last year.

Most of the remainder were for homeowners moving to a new property, while re-mortgages and top-ups made up a small minority of draw-downs.

The average loan for first time buyers was €167,097 by the end of last year, according to the survey, while mover purchases had an average of €220,240.

Both categories were up on the average for the end of 2013.