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Mortgage deals up by 23pc

MORTGAGE approvals jumped by 23pc in April, figures from the Irish Bankers Federation revealed.

The monthly rise related to a total of 1,433 mortgages to the value of €240m. And it represents an 8.7pc increase on the same month last year.

Over 90pc of the approvals were for houses.

The average mortgage approval, for the purposes of house purchase, was €167,418 – up 2.2pc on the same period last year.

Felix O'Regan, pictured left, IBF's director of public affairs, said the statistics identify a boost in the sector.

"Following a more recent slowdown in activity in the first quarter of this year, due to seasonal factors and the expiration of mortgage interest relief, the latest approvals figures provide a firm indication of underlying growth in the market," he said.

Data collection for the IBF mortgage approvals report began in August 2012 covering the period from January 2011.

However, experts at the Professional Insurance Brokers Association (PIBA), the umbrella group that represents financial brokers, have urged caution on these latest statistics.

PIBA's Rachel Doyle said that mortgage lending has dropped 95pc from peak.



She also pointed out that the figures were for approvals and indicated that there may be quite a gap between approvals and drawdown.

"There is huge unmet need with the biggest impediment being a lack of lending," she said.

"It is our experience that there has been a slight easing in the system of late and the April figure is likely to represent a further small improvement. However, it is not going even close to meeting current demand."