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THE number of mortgages rejected in the country has fallen slightly, new research has revealed.

Over 42pc of brokers have confirmed that 60 to 80pc of mortgage applications were declined by lenders in the first quarter of the year.

This compares to 55pc of brokers in the same period six months ago.

However, although the results show an improvement, the director of the Professional Insurance Brokers Association (Piba) said that it gives little cause for optimism in the market.


"It marks a very slight improvement in what is a virtually stagnant property market.

"The absence of a normal functioning banking system is continuing to stymie any underlying demand," said Rachel Boyle, a director of PIBA Mortgage Services.

"Brokers are reporting this, along with the related concerns about the IMF/ECB bailout, is depressing consumer sentiment."

The survey found the main reasons applications were refused by lenders concerned job security -- either the applicant was not in current employment for sufficient time or their employment was on a fixed-contract basis.

More than 90pc of brokers say it is taking at least three months to complete a mortgage, with almost one in three saying it takes longer than four months.