THERE was a huge jump in the number of mortgages issued by banks in the last three months of last year.
This was mainly due to buyers scrambling to avail of mortgage tax relief, which has since been removed.
Some 6,000 mortgages were drawn down in the October to December period, up from 4,000 in the same three months in 2011.
For all of last year, close to 16,000 mortgages were drawn down, with a total value of €2.6bn.
This was up only slightly on the total of almost 14,300 mortgages issued in 2011, with a total value of €2.46bn, according to figures released this morning by the Irish Banking Federation.
Some nine out of every 10 mortgages issued went to first-time buyers and movers.
Head of the IBF Pat Farrell claimed the mortgage market was stabilising.
“The continued increase in the number of new mortgages drawn down by borrowers points to a market that is moving from stabilisation into recovery, supported as it is by a certain levelling of house prices, improved borrower sentiment and the increased availability of finance from lenders.”