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April figures show a drop of over 40% in mortgage approvals being granted in Ireland

In total, 2,200 mortgages were approved in April.

THE NUMBER OF approved mortgages in Ireland fell by more than 40% between March and April this year, according to latest figures. 

The Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has today published figures from its Mortgage Approvals Report for April 2020. 

2,200 mortgages were signed off on that month, with 1,034 of these for first-time buyers.  

This total is a 41.1% reduction compared to March this year and a 46.5% reduction compared to April last year when 4,109 mortgages were approved. 

The chief executive of the BPFI, Brian Hayes, said the “significant drop off in activity” in the mortgage market in April was expected due to the impacts of Covid-19. 

“In the current conditions it is likely that we will see a similar fall in mortgage drawdowns for this quarter as they follow the downward trend shown in today figures,” Hayes said in a statement. 

“Looking ahead there is no doubt that the period ahead will remain challenging for the mortgage market and the housing market as a whole as the current economic uncertainty continues.”

A recent survey found that 68% of prospective homebuyers are still planning on purchasing a property in the next year despite the interruption to the market as a result of Covid-19. 

In terms of house prices, one study has shown that they could fall by as much as 12% due to the Covid-19 crisis. 

Analysis by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) published last month indicated that house prices will fall over the coming 18 months – although the extent of the collapse in the market is not yet fully clear. 

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Mortgages approved in April were valued at a total of €525 million. This is a drop of 43.6% compared to the same month last year.  

The BPFI’s Brian Hayes said lenders and borrows will need to take a “realistic and pragmatic” approach during this time due to potential changes in financial and employment circumstances. 

“This is ultimately in the best interest of the customer and to ensure that borrowers can afford the loans they take out,” he said.  

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