DEMAND for mortgages grew by 10pc during the summer months compared with the previous year -- and the interest in property is expected to accelerate into 2014.
The Professional Insurance Brokers' Association (PIBA) said seven in 10 brokers were now seeing an increase in demand as the after-effects of the economic crash finally begin to recede.
Rachel Boyle, PIBA chief operations officer, said: "We would anticipate that demand will grow with those who've been renting for extended periods wanting more permanency in their lives.
"Added to this is likely to be better consumer sentiment arising from a slew of positive economic and employment data from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and others in recent times."
It comes as the Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers hailed 2013 as a "turning point" in the Irish housing market, although it claimed the majority of purchases were being done with cash.
It said that, on average, prices rose by 6.2pc and by close to 10pc in Dublin, with the southside of the city as much as 30pc higher.
"Despite the continuing lack of credit, there was a steady increase in the number of transactions in 2013 but these were mainly confined to owner-occupiers and a huge percentage of sales were cash buyers," said chief executive Pat Davitt.
"This trend is likely to continue into the early part of 2014 at least."
The PIBA, however, said that it believes demand for mortgages would also grow further in 2014, but it warned the return to normality in the property market would be painfully slow unless action was taken to address the low supply of suitable houses.
While the increase in prices is good news for those looking to sell or are in negative equity, the increase will be a blow to those looking to buy in the coming 12 months.
Data released in November shows that it is becoming more difficult to afford a mortgage, with more than a fifth of the disposable income of a first-time buyer couple in Dublin each month going on paying down the loan on their house.
The affordability index by lender EBS and economic consultants DKM showed that a couple owning their first home and earning about €75,000 would have spent 22.4pc of their net income on their mortgage in September.
Meanwhile, in a further sign of improving economic conditions, Irish bonds were among the best performing this year, rewarding investors who placed their confidence in the country.
Two separate rankings in recent days have shown the extent to which the country's debt offering has become more attractive.
Irish bonds handed investors some of the best returns out of 34 countries, according to Bloomberg's World Bond Indexes, as the Government continued to meet the targets laid down by the troika and then successfully exited the EU/IMF bailout programme earlier this month.