First Time Buyer Activity Dominates Mortgage Approvals


In February this year, there was a notable increase in mortgage approvals for first time buyers, setting an optimistic tone for the year ahead.

According to data from the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) there was a substantial increase of 6% in volume and 7% in value of mortgage approvals for first time buyers compared to February 2023. Among the 3,582 mortgage approvals granted in the second month of this year, 2,171 were secured by first time buyers.


The Help to Buy Scheme: Boosting First Time Buyer Activity

The Help to Buy (HTB) Scheme has played a significant role in bolstering first time buyer activity. The BPFI data also reveals that this robust first time buyer activity is also emphasised by the 12,355 Help to Buy applications received by Revenue in the first two months of the year. Responding to this increased demand, the housing market has seen a substantial expansion in the supply of new homes. According to the Department of Housing, 7,056 new builds commenced in January and February 2024, representing a 72% increase from the same period in 2023.

Recent updates on the Government's Housing For All initiative indicate that the growing numbers of new builds reflect the positive impact of support schemes like the HTB and First Home Scheme (FHS) on first time buyer activity. These schemes offer tax rebates and financial support which help first time buyers enter the property market and driving activity in the new homes market.


The First Home Scheme: Empowering First Time Buyers

While the HTB Scheme, which has been in place longer than the First Home Scheme, remains the more widely used of the two, the First Home Scheme is gaining momentum. The latest FHS Quarterly Update reveals that since its launch in July 2022, the FHS has facilitated the purchase of 1,255 new builds. The Update shows that the number of homes purchased in the second half of 2023 exceeded five times the number purchased over the same period in 2022. This upward trend is expected to continue through 2024, further stimulating the housing market and empowering first time buyers to become homeowners.


The surge in first time buyer mortgage approvals so far this year shows how pivotal the Help to Buy Scheme and First Home Scheme have been in facilitating homeownership for first time buyers. For comprehensive guidance on leveraging these schemes to fulfil your homeownership aims, visit our website. And, for personalised advice and assistance with your mortgage needs, contact us today.

Robyn Jacobs

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