The Banking & Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) has said demand in the housing market may be more resilient than expected, despite an annual drop of almost 62% in mortgage approvals in May.
The banking group said 1,879 mortgages were approved in May, down 14.6% compared with April and 61.9% compared with May last year.
45% of approvals in May were for first-time buyers, while movers accounted for 23%.
In value terms, the €442m worth of mortgages approved in May represented a monthly fall of 15.9% and an annual decline of 61.1%.
BPFI chief executive Brian Hayes (pictured) said the fall-off in May was not unexpected given the scale of the lockdown and physical restrictions, and their impact on employment figures and economic uncertainty.
But he pointed to the May figures as a sign of resilient demand, adding that banks were continuing to approve mortgage applications “even under the most severe restrictions”.