There was a decline in lending for house purchases during the second quarter of the year, according to the Central Bank, driven by the buy-to-let sector.

Lending for house purchases fell by €261m in the three months to the end of June and were down 2% in annual terms.

Loans to the buy-to-let sector fell by 8.9% in the period, due to repayments outstripping new lending by around €330m in the quarter and €1.4 billion in the year.

Meanwhile loans for owner-occupiers actually increased in the quarter by €72m – but were down slightly on an annual basis.

The move towards fixed rate loans also continued in the quarter with ‘floating’ rate loans for owner occupiers, which includes variable and tracker mortgages, decreasing by 3.6%. However fixed rate loans, which are more profitable for lenders, were up by 32%.

The Central Bank figures also show a continued improvement in terms of mortgage arrears, with less than 12% of owner-occupier loans now in arrears for 90 days or more.

The picture continues to be considerably worse in the buy-to-let sector, however, where 24.1% of loans are in arrears for 90 days or more.

Separately the data shows that household deposits continued to grow in the second quarter – up €2.6 billion (3%) over the previous year.