Now 20,000 househunters chasing just 10,000 homes
Twenty thousand people are now chasing half as many homes - sparking fierce competition which will drive property prices sharply upwards for the rest of this year.
New buyers and investors have been cleared to borrow for around 20,000 mortgages in the past year, new figures reveal. But only half of this number of new homes are for sale.
This means many of them will have to compete with movers for the limited supply of second-hand homes.
Experts say the mismatch between supply and demand means prices will keep rising amid the clamour for family homes.
New figures show that homebuyers have been approved to borrow almost €2bn in the first three months of the year. This is almost double the amount approved for mortgages in the first three months of last year.
The average approval amount was €214,400 in March, which was up 9pc on the year.
Goodbody Stockbrokers economist Dermot O'Leary said: "If one takes the sum of approvals for first-time buyers and investors - new entrants to the market - this amounts to around 20,000 over the past twelve months.
"This is substantially more than the amount of new properties that will come to the market this year. The obvious conclusion is that prices will continue to be bid up."