THE number of new mortgages issued has risen for the first time in six years, giving the property market a glimmer of hope.
Almost 4,000 new home loans were granted by banks in the July, August and September period.
This is more than 10pc more mortgages than were issued in the same three-month period last year.
It is the first annual rise in the number of mortgages drawn down since 2006.
Figures from the Irish Banking Federation also show that the majority of these loans were issued to first-time buyers, who are in a scramble to close property deals before the end of the year to benefit from generous tax reliefs.
Analysts said that, although the numbers were encouraging, the level of mortgage activity was still very low.