New figures from the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland show that mortgage lending approvals reached over €1 billion in May - the highest monthly total since at least 2011. 

A total of 4,473 mortgages were approved in May, with 49.9% of those for first-time buyers while mover purchasers accounted for 27%.

The number of mortgages approved rose by 9.8% year-on-year and by 19.2% month-on-month.

Mortgages approved in May were valued at €1.014 billion, of which first time buyers accounted for €506m and €324m by mover purchasers.

The BPFI said the value of mortgage approvals rose by 4% year-on-year and by 20.3% month-on-month.

It also noted that re-mortgage or switching approvals rose on a year-on-year basis - by 106.0% in value and by 96% in volume terms.

Goodbody economist Dermot O'Leary said that lending for homes grew by 6% so far this year, with all of this growth due to an increase in the size of the average loan. 

But he noted that the number of loans approved for all categories of lending for home purchase actually fell in the first five months of the year.