Mortgage approvals grew strongly once again in May, according to data from the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) this morning.
In May, the number of mortgage approvals grew by 10% (+9% yoy in April), with the value of approvals growing by a modestly greater extent (+12% yoy).
In the three months to May, the volume and value of approvals grew by 14% yoy, suggesting that the weak trends seen through 2018, which Goodbody Stockbrokers attributed to the impact of changes to the rules for exemptions outside the loan-to-income rules, has now passed.
First-time buyers (FTB) continue to drive the recovery in mortgage approvals. In the three months to May, the number of FTB mortgage approvals grew by 18% yoy, the best performance since October 2017. The number of mortgage approvals for mover purchasers grew by 7% yoy in the three months to May, while Buy-to-Let approvals continue to be weak (-16% yoy).
In all cases, the average loan sizes are only modestly changed over the past twelve months; with loans already coming up against income limits, growth will only stem from growth in incomes. In the three months to May, the average loan size for FTBs was €232,000, up just 2% yoy.
According to Goodbody Stockbrokers, "The latest data suggests that there has been a pick-up in buyer interest, as gauged by mortgage approvals, in 2019. While the increased stock for sale is likely to keep a lid on any major price rises, these latest trends suggest a pick-up in sales rates as the year progresses."