Third of loans are for self-builds
Most first-time home buyers are now over the age of 30, in a major reversal of previous trends.
The sheer cost of homes and the difficulties for younger workers with lower earnings in qualifying for mortgages means new buyers are older.
This is a reverse from the situation that prevailed for years, new figures from the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) show.
In 2004 fewer than a third of first-time buyers were over the age of 30, but by the first half of this year 76pc of new buyers were over the age of 30.
This meant the share of first-time buyers in the market who were under the age of 30 had halved in the last 16 years, the banks said.
Experts say this situation raises the risk that many will still be paying off a mortgage in their 60s.
The number of people who are in their 20s who can get a home loan are diminishing.
In 2004, 60pc of first-time buyers were under the age of 30.
By the summer of this year, the percentage of those under the age of 30 drawing down their first mortgage had fallen to 24pc, the detailed mortgage report by BPFI shows.
The report says a number of factors may be driving the ageing of home buyers, with major life events that have prompted household formation, especially marriage and having children, occurring later in life.
Separate figures from the Central Statistics Office show the age of women having their first child has been rising steadily in the past few years.
The report shows self-builds play a key role in the market, despite questions being raised about their impact on the environment and the higher costs associated with providing services for them.
Banks said self-builds now made up 37pc of first-time buyer mortgages for new properties.
They also make up almost half of mover purchase mortgages for new properties.
With the exceptions being Dublin, Cork, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow, mortgages for self-builds outnumber mortgages for the purchase of new builds.
The typical monthly mortgage repayments for first-time buyers across the State are now €841.
Mover purchasers pay just over €1,183 a month, while new buyers in Dublin are typically paying €1,100.
Median monthly repayments for those in the regions outside the three biggest cities are €730, reflecting much lower property prices outside of urban areas.
Chief executive of BPFI Brian Hayes welcomed the fact the mortgage market was recovering strongly.
He said there was a strong and full recovery in the mortgage market in the first half of this year following the extreme difficulties that were experienced last year. Drawdown figures are now back to 2019 levels.
“However, the impact of Covid-19 restrictions continues to be felt on home loans for new properties, with existing houses accounting for close to 50pc of the first-time buyer market,” he said.
Industry experts say high prices, overall lack of supply and competition from well-financed corporate buyers gives first-time buyers less access to new housing, pushing them toward existing stock.
Michael Stanley, CEO of Cairn Homes, said recently there were now 500,000 people in the “stuck middle” who would be locked out of ownership unless there was an increase in supply beyond the Government’s target of 30,000 homes per year.
Mr Hayes said there were more than 24,000 housing starts and almost 14,000 completions in the first nine months of this year.
Banks approved almost 22,000 mortgages for first-time buyers in the first nine months of this year.