Rise in new mortgages gives glimmer of hope

THERE are clear signs of a pick-up in the mortgage lending sector -- even though there was has been 50pc drop in the past year.

Some 3,607 mortgage loans were issued in the third quarter of this year. The value of these loans hit €623m, according to the latest IBF/PwC mortgage market profile.

Although this makes for grim reading, it was still a 1.6pc increase on the previous quarter -- the first time since quarter three 2006 that the number of loans has increased in two consecutive quarters.

First-time buyers remain the largest segment, increasing their share to almost 47pc of the market. However, there is a lack of access to funding, experts have outlined. Chief executive of the Irish Brokers' Association, Ciaran Phelan, said banks were exiting the new mortgage market "as fast as they can".

"KBC announced the withdrawal of one of their products earlier this week further reducing the options for those who want to buy," he said.