MORTGAGE lending surged in the first three months of the year.
New figures from the banks show that more than 5,600 new mortgages to the value of €983m were drawn down by borrowers here during the first quarter of the year.
This was up 64pc compared with the same quarter in the previous year, according to the Irish Banking and Payments Federation.
The jump in lending prompted analysts to say the housing market recovery is underway.However, many of those having a mortgage issued to them had approval before new Central Bank lending restrictions were imposed.
First-time buyers account for more than half of the mortgages issued, with those trading accounting for almost four out of 10 mortgages drawn down.
The average loan size rose to € 175,016 in the first quarter, up 5.5pc on the previous quarter.
The true impact of new lending criteria on the market situation will become more apparent in the latter half of 2015.