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The number of first-time buyers (FTBs) approved for a mortgage has hit a record high.

Around 30,000 new buyers got the green light from lenders to take on a mortgage in the year to August.

It is the first time since the Banking and Payments Federation started compiling mortgage figures in 2011 that so many first-time buyers have been approved.

It comes as the asking price for housing rose slightly this month when compared with last year.

Prices were 1.1pc higher in the three months to September when compared with the same period in 2022, according to the latest House Price Report released by property website

The banking lobby group said 4,534 mortgages were approved last month. Six out of 10 of those were for first-time buyers.

New buyers have moved to the forefront as there has been a huge fall-off in switchers and movers, who have been discouraged by higher mortgage rates.

Experts said first-time buyers were being boosted by the state support schemes Help to Buy and First Home.

These have been likened to “rocket fuel” for first-time buyers as they allow them to shave up to €100,000 off borrowing costs.

Despite the surge in first-time buyer mortgage approvals, the overall number of approvals in August was down 18pc on a year ago.

Banking and Payments Federation Ireland’s chief economist Ali Ugur said first-time buyers continue to lead the market.

“FTB mortgage approval values reached more than €8.5bn in the 12 months ending August 2023, while the annualised number of FTB mortgage approvals exceeded 30,000 for the first time since our data series began in 2011,” he said.

Mr Ugur said this suggests the pipeline for home purchase drawdowns remains very strong despite an overall slowdown.

Meanwhile, said the typical listed housing price nationwide in the third quarter of the year was €322,602.

Over the last year, listed prices are up almost 4pc, but are roughly 13pc below the Celtic Tiger peak.

In Dublin, prices in the third quarter of the year were just 1.4pc higher than a year ago, the lowest rate of inflation since prices started to rebound in late 2020.

Nationally, prices rose by 2.4pc in the second quarter when compared with the first three months of this year, said.

Prices in Cork city were just 1.7pc higher compared with a year ago.

In Galway, Limerick and Waterford cities, the rate of annual increase was higher, at between 3.9pc and 4.7pc.

Bigger increases were recorded outside the main cities.

There was an annual increase of 4pc in Leinster, almost 6pc in Munster and just over 8pc in Connacht-Ulster.

A chronic shortage of properties continues to blight the market. The number of homes available to buy nationwide on September 1 stood at just under 12,200.

This is down more than 20pc over the year, compared with the almost 15,500 available to buy on the same date a year previously.

Trinity College economist and author of the report Professor Ronan Lyons said: “Prices continue to rise, albeit at a slower rate than has become common over the last decade.”

He said prices were largely static in the second half of last year and in the first three months of this year, but they have risen again since then.

Prof Lyons said the supply of homes to buy was down at the levels only previously seen during the pandemic. said the number of homes being built has held up, despite inflationary pressures.

Roughly 30,000 homes are expected to be built this year, Prof Lyons said.

The asking price for properties in Dublin city was up 1.4pc in the three months to September, compared with last year, to €433,100.

The rest of the country saw prices surge by 5.4pc, with a typical asking price of €275,000.

Source: Charlie Weston, Irish Independent 29th September 2023



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