Seven of the main financial institutions here loaned almost 40,000 mortgages in 2018.

According to figures from the Central Bank, 39,495 mortgages to the value of €8.9 billion were originated last year.

The regulator publishes details of new lending every year under mortgage market rules.

Restrictions on the amount a borrower can get access to for house purchase were introduced in recent years by the Central Bank.

A first time buyer is required to put forward at least 10% of the value of their home while a second or subsequent buyer must provide a deposit of at least 20%.

All buyers can secure mortgages of up to 3.5 times their income.

There are allowances for borrowers to breach the regulations in any year, but individual banks can only allow a limited number of borrowers to breach the rules.

The average loan to value for first time buyers was 80% last year while the average loan to income ratio was 3.1.

The corresponding figures for 2017 were 79.7% and 3 respectively.

The average loan to value for second and subsequent buyers was 66.8% compared to 67.1% per cent in 2017 and the average loan to income ratio was 2.6, compared to 2.5 in 2017.