The number of mortgage approvals rose 5% in February when compared to the same month of last year, according to the latest Banking and Payments Federation Ireland figures.

The value of approvals rose by 11.1% on an annual basis.

A total of 3,137 approvals were granted during the month, which were valued at €691m.

50.4%, or 1,580, of these mortgages were for first time buyers while mover purchasers accounted for 25.8% (808) of home loans.

Today's figures also showed that the fastest growting segment of the mortgage market was switching, with volumes rising to 3,928 in the 12 months to the end of February. 

The BPFI also noted that the annualised volume of mortgage approvals rose for the 23rd month in a row, rising by 0.3% in the 12 months to February to 43,549.