New figures from the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland show that total mortgage lending for 2017 rose to to €7.286 billion, an increase of 28.8% on the previous year.

The new BPFI figures reveal that a total of 34,798 mortgages were issued last year, up 18% on 2016.

Today's figures also pointed to continued growth in mortgage activity in the final three months of last year. 

A total of 10,350 new mortgages for house buying were drawn down in the final quarter of last year, up 13.5% in volume terms compared to the previous year. 

The combined value of those mortgages came in at €2.23 billion, up almost a quarter on the third quarter.

The BPFI noted that first time buyers remained the single biggest segment of the housing market - 50.7% - and by value - 49.8%.

First time buyers and mover-purchasers accounted for almost 85% of of the total value of mortgages drawn down. 

It also said that the volume and value of switching continued to increase with 985 re-mortgage loans issued in the fourth quarter of 2017. This represented quarterly growth of 26.8% and year on year growth of 15.7%.