New figures show that a total of 2,840 mortgages were approved per month on average in the three months to the end of February.

The figures from the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland show that the number of mortgages approved jumped by 42.3% on an annual basis, but they slipped by 7% on a monthly basis.

The annual growth in mortgage approvals was driven by first time buyers which accounted for 49.5% of total volumes. 

First time buyers are seeking to benefit from relaxed Central Bank mortgage lending rules and the Government's Help to Buy Scheme.

Mover-purchasers accounted for 30.9% of the three month total.

Today's figures also show that the value of mortgage approvals approved per month jumped by 54.4% on an annual basis to €585m as borrowers are seeking bigger loans. They fell by 6.8% on a monthly basis.

48.7% of this €585m was accounted for by first time buyers and 36.6% by mover purchasers.

Meanwhile, today's figures also show that 152 buy to let mortgages were approved in February, up by 21% on the year.