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New mortgage approvals fall 11pc

THERE has been a fall in the number of mortgages approved by banks, new figures show.

Some 1,167 mortgages for house purchases and top-ups were approved in March.

But this was down 11pc from the same month last year, according to figures from the Irish Banking Federation. The banking lobby group said there was a rise in the number of mortgages approved in March compared with February.

The value of the mortgages approved in March was €196m – some €186m of which was for house purchase.

A mortgage approval is where a bank says it will lend the money, but borrowers may not ultimately end up drawing down the loan.

And separate figures from the Central Bank show that households paid off close to €1.5bn in debt in the first three months of the year.

The latest Central Bank statistics show saving and repaying debt remained the dominant trends among Irish consumers in March.

Meanwhile, a fall in inflation in the eurozone to a three-year low and record unemployment has increased pressure on the European Central Bank to deliver a cut in interest rates.

Business

Irish Independent