There was strong growth in mortgage approvals in February with switching volumes up 42% year-on-year, according to the latest figures from Banking and Payments Federation Ireland.

A total of 3,894 mortgages were approved last month.

First-time buyers (FTBs) were approved for 2,053 mortgages, 52.7% of the total volume, while mover purchasers accounted for 848, almost 22%.

The value of mortgage approvals rose by 10.3% month-on-month and by 13.9% year-on-year.

The figures show that re-mortgage or switching grew by just under 43% to 719 in volume terms compared to last February and in value terms by 57.3% year-on-year to €194 million over the same period.

Brian Hayes, Chief Executive of BPFI said re-mortgage or switching was by far the fastest growing segment in the market.

"This increase in switching activity is a reflection both on the competition in the market right now and the fact that mortgage customers are actively shopping around for these better rates," he said.

Mr Hayes said this comes at a time when mortgage customers are increasingly using fixed-rate mortgages.

"The latest data from the CBI for example suggests that fixed rate mortgages - fixed for more than one year - accounted for almost half of outstanding mortgage value at the end of 2021, up from 25% three years earlier.

"With consumers keenly aware of the rising cost of living, we encourage mortgage customers to review their rate type and level regularly and compare them with the other products available," he added.