Houses becoming more affordable as confidence rises
HUGE numbers of first-time buyers are continuing to purchase homes, spearheading hopes of an upturn in the flagging property market.
Despite a 20pc drop last year in the overall value of mortgages taken out, first-time buyers took out one-in-five new mortgages last year, driving forward the possibility of a property revival.
New figures show that in 2007, first-time buyers took the same share of the market they had in 2006.
Overall, just over 160,000 new mortgages were taken out in 2007, with a value of €34bn. This was 20pc lower than the value of homeloans taken out in the previous year as buyers drew back from buying homes.
But first-time buyers continued to hold up their share of the market, according to the Irish Banking Federation.
Some 19pc of mortgages were signed up for by new buyers last year, up from 18pc of the market in 2006.
There was a fall-off in the total number of first-time buyers taking out homeloans last year as the entire mortgage market contracted.
However, the strength of the first-time buyer numbers surprised finance experts as first-time buyers were expected to desert the market in droves, and continue to rent or live with their parents.
The Irish Banking Federation said there were signs that first-time buyers are now entering the market in larger numbers.
The banking body is predicting a pick-up in the housing market later this year.
Houses have become more affordable while people feel more confident about the property market than they did at the end of last year.
Chief executive of the Irish Banking Federation Pat Farrell said: "There are positive signs there. There is now evidence buyers are coming back into the market."