There was an 8.9% increase in the number of mortgages drawn down in Ireland in the first quarter of this year, according to the body representing the banking, payments and fintech sectors.

Figures published by the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland show 8,577 new mortgages, to the value of almost €1.9bn, were drawn down during the first three months of 2019.

It represents an 8.9% increase in volume and a 10.6% increase in value compared to the first quarter of last year.

While it represents a decrease on the final quarter of 2018, BPFI say traditionally Q1 is the weakest quarter in any year and Q4 is the strongest.

First-time buyers remain the single largest segment by volume (47.3%) and by value (47.9%).

BPFI has also published figures showing the latest rate of mortgage approvals, with 4,142 approved in March of this year.

2,114 of these - 51% of the total - were first-time buyers. 

The number of mortgages approved rose by 22.8% year-on-year and by 23.1% month-on-month.

Mortgages approved in March 2019 were valued at €920m – of which FTBs accounted for €473m (51.4%) and €266 million by mover purchasers (28.9%).

The value of mortgage approvals rose by 20.7% year-on-year and by 21.6% month-on-month.