New figures from Banking and Payments Federation Ireland show that the number of mortgage approvals rose by 14.2% in April.

The BPFI figures reveal that a total of 3,751 mortgages were approved last month.

It noted that first time buyers accounted for over 47% of that total.

Today's figures also show that the value of mortgages approved in April rose by 19.8% compared to the same time last year to a total of €842m. 

Re-mortgage and switching approvals rose on an annual basis, rising by 103.5% in value and by 103.8% in volume terms.

Commenting on today's figures, Goodbody's chief economist Dermot O'Leary said that while an upward trend is still in place, the momentum is not as great as seen in 2016 and 2017. 

He noted that re-mortgaging continues to be the fastest-growing component of new lending approvals, reflecting rising equity, lower mortgage rates and stiffer competition in the market. 

"This component continues to increase its share of total new lending. Remortgaging accounted for 13.2% of approvals in the year to April. This compares to a high of 26% in 2008," he added. 

The BPFI also said today that the average home mortgage approval in April was €237,732, up 5.9% compared to the same month last year. 

The average first time buyer's mortgage approval rose up 7.5% to €225,000 while the average mover purchaser rose by 1.7% to €258,533.