Number of people approved for mortgage hits record levels


A total of 4,300 people were cleared to borrow in April, the highest value for this month since banks began to record mortgage approvals data

A new record has been set for the number of people being approved to take out a mortgage, with the rise driven by first-time buyers (FTBs).

A total of 4,300 people were cleared to borrow in April, the highest value for this month since banks started collecting data on approvals in 2011.

This is almost double the number for the same month last year. The figures point to massive pent-up demand for housing.

There is a glut of potential home buyers, particularly FTBs, who have mortgage approval and are attempting to purchase a home.

Demand for property has been robust throughout the pandemic, and the number of FTBs looking to purchase their own property is at its highest figure in years.

There has been a reluctance by homeowners to sell in the middle of a pandemic, and the recently lifted restrictions on new building projects have cut supply.

According to the latest figures from the Banking and Payments Federation, 4,362 mortgages valued at just over €1bn (£0.86bn) were approved in April.

FTBs were approved for 2,389 mortgages, which makes up 55pc of the total.

Mover purchasers accounted for 1,013 of the approvals, or nearly a quarter of the total.

In the 12 months to April, 46,131 mortgages were approved, with a combined value of €11.24bn (£9.69bn).

Chief executive of the Banking and Payments Federation, Brian Hayes, said: Compared with April last year, when the country was experiencing its first lockdown, there has been a doubling of activity across most mortgage categories during April 2021.

He said the number of approvals equated to the highest value since the banking lobby group began to record mortgage approvals data in 2011, driven mainly by first-time buyer approvals.

According to separate figures from the Central Bank the value of mortgages issued by banks dropped by €166m (£143.13m) in the month of April.

This indicates that large numbers of those approved for a mortgage are unable to get a property to buy and do not end up drawing down the mortgage.

In the year to the end of April, the net flows of lending for house purchase amounted to €408m (£351.79m), the lowest recorded since May 2018, the Central Bank said.

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