There were 9,339 new mortgage drawdowns with a total value of over €2 billion in the three months to June, latest figures from the Banking & Payments Federation (BPFI) show.

This represents a 16.8% rise in volume terms and a 22.2% increase with regard to value, when compared with the second quarter last year.

According to the BPFI, first-time buyers (FTBs) accounted for almost half of new mortgage borrowing during the period.

The figures also indicate a surge in the level of borrowers switching their mortgage, with the total volume and value of re-mortgaged loans (switching) almost doubling between Q2 2017 and Q2 this year to over 1,300 re-mortgages worth almost €300m.

Statistics from the BPFI covering just the month of June show the number of mortgages approved rose by 0.7% year-on-year and fell by 4.5% month-on-month.

A total of 4,272 mortgages carrying a value of €962m were approved during the month.

Commenting on the considerable increase in the number of borrowers switching their mortgage, Chief Economist with Goodbody Dermot O'Leary said: "Growth in this sector is a function of growing competition in the mortgage market and rising levels of equity due to the rise in house prices.

"It is likely to remain an important feature in the coming quarters and keep an ongoing focus on mortgage rates in Ireland," he added.

Mr O'Leary also said the strong level of FTBs in the market "highlights the importance of the Help-to-Buy scheme in incentivising FTBs of new homes".

He also expects "the mortgage market to grow to €14 billion, with the key ingredient of this forecast being ongoing growth in new housing supply".