MORTGAGE lending surged in the first three months of the year.
New figures from the banks show that more than 5,600 new mortgages to the value of €983m were drawn down by borrowers here during the first quarter of the year.
This was up 64pc compared with the same quarter in the previous year, according to the Irish Banking and Payments Federation.
The jump in lending prompted analysts to say the housing market recovery is underway.
But many of those having a mortgage issued to them had approval before new Central Bank lending restrictions were imposed.
First-time buyers account for more than half of the mortgages issued, with those trading accounting for almost four out of 10 mortgages drawn down.
The average loan size rose to € 175,016 in the first quarter, up 5.5pc on the previous quarter.
Economist with Goodbody Juliet Tennent said the figures showed the property market was recovering.
“The first quarter mortgage drawdowns confirm the strong rebound currently underway in the Irish housing market,” she said in a note to investors.
She warned that the introduction by the Central Bank of lending restrictions in February made it difficult to working out the underlying trends.
But said the housing recovery has momentum.