New figures from Banking and Payments Federation Ireland show that October was the busiest month for mortgage approvals since BPFI began compiling the numbers in 2011.
A total of 5,207 mortgages were approved in October. First-time buyers (FTBs) were approved for 3,041 mortgages, or 58.4% of the total volume, while mover purchasers accounted for 1,267 (24.3%).
BPFI said the number of mortgages approved rose by 12.7% on a monthly basis and by 15.4% compared with the same time last year.
Meanwhile, the value of mortgages approved in October amounted to €1.253 billion. This marked a monthly increase of 11.8% and an annual rise of 22.9%.
First-time buyers TBs accounted for €774m (59.4%) and mover purchasers for €344m (27.5%) of these mortgages.
Brian Hayes, the chief executive of BPFI, said the very strong growth in mortgage approvals during October was largely been driven by first-time buyers who made up almost 60% of both the total volume and value of approvals as uncertainty around the economy due to Covid-19 has declined.
Brian Hayes noted that mortgage approvals are down by 19% in volume terms and 14% in value terms in the first ten months of 2020 compared with the same time in 2019.
But he said that continued uplift in approval activity in October represents a strong pipeline for drawdown activity as we move into 2021 which can help feed into an overall recovery in the economy in the year ahead.