The number of mortgages approved nationwide rose by 50.1% in July on a monthly basis, but were down by 33.8% compared with the same time last year, new figures from Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) show today.

BPFI said that a total of 3,397 mortgages were approved in July. First-time buyers were approved for 55% of the total volume, while mover purchasers accounted for 22%.

Mortgages approved in July were valued at €811m, the BPFI said. Of this first-time buyers accounted for €462m (57%) and mover purchasers for €196m (24%).

It added that the value of mortgage approvals in July rose by 51.2% month-on-month but fell by 30.2% year-on-year.

Dr Ali Ugur, the BPFI's chief economist, said the reopening of the economy after Covid-19 enforced restrictions has resulted in a significant increase in mortgage approval numbers in July compared to the previous month.

But on an annual basis, approval numbers are still down - which is not unexpected. 

"When we look at annualised mortgage approval activity, which is a better indicator of the trend, there were 40,090 mortgage approvals in the 12 months ending July 2020, valued at €9.238 billion," Dr Ali Ugur said. 

"Annualised mortgage approval activity to end-July 2020 decreased in volume terms by 4.1% compared with the 12 months ending June 2020 and decreased in value terms by 3.7% over the same period," he added.