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Mortgage approvals down over 40% in April as impact of Covid-19 hits

The level of mortgage approvals fell substantially in April, according to the latest figures from the Banking and Payments Federation.

The figures are reflective of the fact that the property market has all but stalled in recent months as the Covid-related shutdown of the economy took effect.

Just 2,200 mortgages were approved in April with a total value of €525 million.

That represented a fall of just over 41% in volume terms in the month and a fall of 40% when values are considered.

When compared to the same period last year, approval volumes were down 46.5% while values were 43.6% lower.

The breakdown of approvals was largely reflective of the situation before the Covid restrictions.

About half were accounted for by first-time buyers and a further quarter were so-called “mover purchasers”.

BPFI Chief Executive Brian Hayes said the figures were not surprising in the context of the economic impact from the pandemic.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“During this period, it will be necessary for both lenders and borrowers to take a realistic and pragmatic approach given the change in individuals’ 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 added.

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