Tuesday 27 June 2017

Mortgage approvals soar as new lending rules and help-to-buy scheme kicks in

January is traditionally a slow month for borrowing and house sales
January is traditionally a slow month for borrowing and house sales

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

The number of people approved for a mortgage shot up last month as new rules on lending and the Government’s help-to-buy scheme kicked in.

A total of 2,861 people were approved to borrow to buy a home in January, up 47pc on the same month last year, according to figures from the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland figures.

January is traditionally a slow month for borrowing and house sales.

But a relaxation in the Central Bank lending limits took effect in January, and the Government’s tax rebate came into operation in the same month.

Almost half of those getting approval from a bank to borrow were first-time buyers.

Read more: Bad news for first-time buyers: Cost of a home to jump 7pc this year, 5pc next year

The figures show there was €513m of loans approved for house purchase in January, up an 59pc on the year.

This reflects higher housing prices and the fact that buyers are now able to borrow more due to the change in lending limits and the Government’s tax rebate scheme.

From the start of this year, first-time buyers can get approval with a 10pc deposit. Up to December they needed a 20pc deposit for amounts borrowed over €220,000.

Some 3,000 new buyers have applied for the help-to-buy scheme.

It offers a 5pc tax rebate on the purchase of a new home for eligible applicants, up to a maximum of €20,000.

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