The Lowest of the Low; Mortgage Market Sinks to Worst Level since 1971 as Banks Tighten Grip
Byline: Ian Carey
IRELAND'S mortgage market has slowed down to levels not seen since 1971, according to figures from the Irish Banking Federation.
Finance experts yesterday described the figures as the 'worst numbers ever' as banks put such a squeeze on lending that potential homeowners feel there is no point in applying.
The number of mortgages being drawn down has fallen by half in the last year - even on this year's already low figures.
The federation yesterday revealed statistics for the third quarter of the year showing just 3,607 new mortgages were taken out in the last three months.
This meant that [euro]623million in mortgages was given out, a massive drop of just over 50 per cent on the previous year.
Frank Conway, director at Money-Coach.ie, said: 'Based on the latest figures, 2011 is now on track to be the worst year for mortgages since 1971.
'This is based on the combined reports from the Department of the Environment, which has tracked mortgage originations since 1970 as well as the IBF report. In 1971, there were 11,728 mortgages originated in Ireland. We could come very close to that figure at the end of the year.
'If you take into account the fact that in the early Seventies there was a million and a half less people in the country then you can see that these are the worst numbers ever.' Mr Conway said the figures mean that the available credit can now be compared to the 'draconian' lending of the Seventies.
'It is well known that around that time people had to queue up and apply for an application form for a mortgage. It was so difficult to get a mortgage from an Irish bank that you had to apply to apply for a mortgage.' The finance expert called on banks and lenders to make more credit available for people trying to buy their own homes. …