Mortgage lending fell €717m in March
LENDING for residential mortgages dropped by €717m in March as potential house buyers continue to be reluctant to commit to borrowing for property.
The amount being repaid on existing mortgages was more than that given out in new mortgages to take total mortgage lending down by 1.4pc in the year to March, according to the Central Bank.
The overall value of mortgage lending outstanding fell to €146.5bn.
Lending to businesses was down 4.6pc from a year earlier, compared with an annual drop of 3.7pc in February.
Total lending in the economy fell by €4.4bn during February, bringing the annual rate of decline to 9.3pc.
The Central Bank said the figures given for lending to businesses and households in March were adjusted to exclude the impact of loans transferred by the banks to the National Asset Management Agency.
Repayments on credit cards in March were around €71m higher than new spending on cards. Total lending to households fell by 2.6pc in the year to March.
Broker body PIBA said the figures defied claims by the banks that they are lending to small businesses and to first-time buyers. Diarmuid Kelly, chief executive of PIBA, accused banks of cherry-picking who they were prepared to lend to.
"This is not just adversely affecting those wishing to lend it is stymieing economic recovery," he said.
"The banks will do the absolute minimum required of them by the Government.
"The Government and the Minister for Finance in particular, need to act to increase their minimum lending requirements," he said.