Central Bank rules hit lending but low level of housing supply also an issue
about 12 hours ago
The value of mortgages taken out by first-time buyers actually slipped on an annual basis in the final quarter and a fall in mortgage approvals suggest the trend will continue
The final mortgage figures for 2015 show a big 26 per cent increase in the value of mortgages extended during the year, bringing the total to €4.85 billion. On the face of it, the market is growing fast. However some of the underlying trends show the market is still far from normal.
The new Central Bank rules are clearly having a big impact – annual growth last year was heavily concentrated in the first half of the year.Goodbody stockbrokers point out that the annual growth rate in the value of mortgages extended fell from 49 per cent in the first quarter to 8.2 per cent in the final quarter. The value of mortgages taken out by first-time buyers actually slipped on an annual basis in the final quarter and a fall in mortgage approvals suggest the trend will continue.
This suggests that the Central Bank rules are having a big impact, but another key factor is also playing into the picture - the low level of new housing supply.The interplay of these two factors and the impact on first-time buyers will certainly be an election issue.
Two other factors are worth noting. There is a big rise in remortgaging activity and mortgage top-ups, presumably reflecting some increasing household confidence. Meanwhile Davy stockbrokers estimate that around half of all property purchases last year were cash transaction, with the number of sales in the property register roughly double the number of mortgages advanced. In a tight market and with new lending rules, cash is still king.