New figures from the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland show that just over 4,100 mortgages were approved in April.

This is down slightly month on month, but up 9.5% on an annual basis.

The figures show that just over half of those mortgages went to first time buyers - with movers making up a little over a quarter of the figure.

But the number of mortgages given to investors - for buy-to-let properties - fell in the month, and is down almost 30% year on year.

Meanwhile, the value of the loans being given out by banks continues to rise. 

Approvals in April were worth a total of €931m with more than half of that total going to first time buyers. 

The value of approvals is up 1.1% in the month and more than 10% year on year.

Felix O'Regan, Director of Public Affairs at Banking and Payments Federation Ireland, said the latest figures show good year-on-year growth of 9.5% and 10.5% in the number and value respectively of mortgages approved by lenders during April 2019.  

"This growth is particularly evident in the case of first-time buyers where the 23.2% uplift in the value of approvals in April 2019 compared to April 2018 represents the strongest rate of growth since October 2017," Mr O'Regan said.

He said that while the comparison of the April figures with March shows weaker growth, and even a decline in some categories, the year-on-year comparison provides a more reliable picture of the overall mortgage market performance because of the volatility that can arise from one month to another.