Mortgage approval rate are up by nearly 30% in the year to December, freshly released figures show.

Figures from the Banking Payments Federation of Ireland( BPFI ) show that mortgage approvals to buy homes in Ireland for the month of December were at 2,255.  This marks a 28% increase on last year.

In monetary terms, mortgage approvals reached €488M last month, an increase of 39% on last year.

An analysis of the figures by Davy Stockbrokers also found that the average approving for first-time purchasers to EUR2 01,928, up 14% on the year. This is due to a relaxing of the Central Bank’s mortgage lending regulations in November, which meant that borrowers could take out a higher debt.

Despite the significant rise in the number and value of mortgage approvals throughout 2016, Davy said that it was not changing its forecast for how much the value of approved mortgages will grow in 2017.

The firm forecast a 20% increase in mortgage lending( from EUR5 billion last year to EUR6 billion this year ). Lack of supply in Ireland’s property market is one of the key reasons for this.