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New data shows that first-time buyers are getting older
Sarah Rigney
Staff Writer

First-time homebuyers in Ireland are getting older, according to new data released by the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).

Despite the mortgage market still recovering from the turmoil caused by Covid-19, it seems as though things are looking up. 

Data released by the BPFI has shed light on the ongoing developments in the mortgage market. More people are now drawing down mortgages, however the age of first-time buyers is increasing.

Here’s a closer look at some of the main points from the newly released report.

The ageing of home buyers

The BPFI’s report has revealed that the share of first-time buyers under the age of 30 has more than halved since 2004. 

Less than a quarter of first-time buyers in Ireland were aged 30 or under in the first half of 2021. This is a stark contrast to 2004 when those in this age group accounted for 60% of drawdowns.

Borrowers aged 35 and over now make up the greatest share of mortgage drawdowns at 39%. In the first half of 2021, the median age for a first-time buyer was 34, while the median age for mover-purchasers was 42.

While the median borrower age has been relatively stable in recent years, the profile of borrowers will likely continue to age.

Why is the age of first-time buyers increasing?

The increasing age at which people buy their first property may be down to several factors. 

One reason is due to the fact that major life events that prompt household formation, such as marriage and having children, are occurring later in life and are having a knock-on effect. 

Another reason comes down to the Central Bank’s mortgage lending rules, which can be quite restrictive for those looking to apply for a mortgage. 

The rules limit new mortgages to no more than 3.5 times a household’s income and require mortgage seekers to have a 10% deposit upfront for any property.

Mortgage drawdown rates are at pre-pandemic levels

The report from the BPFI also revealed that mortgage drawdowns saw an increase of 23% year-on-year in the first half of 2021. 

Over 14,000 mortgages were drawn down by both first-time buyers and mover-purchasers in the first half of the year, similar to the pre-pandemic level of drawdowns in the first half of 2019.

At 67.5%, first-time buyers accounted for the majority of mortgage drawdowns during the first half of the year.

Varying mortgage repayments by region

The report from the BPFI also analysed the variation in mortgage repayments by region around the country.

In the first half of 2021, the median monthly mortgage repayment for first-time buyers was €841. 

It should come as no surprise that Dublin had the most expensive median monthly repayment at €1,107, followed by its neighbouring counties Wicklow at €1,054, Kildare at €976 and Meath at €942.

Aside from Cork and Galway, which had median monthly repayments of €800 and €900, all other regions had median monthly repayments of less than €730. 

Compare mortgage rates on

Whether you’re a first-time buyer, home mover or looking to switch mortgage you can easily compare interest rates, loan terms, mortgage offers and cashback incentives with our mortgage calculator

We compare rates from all of Ireland’s mortgage lenders to help you find the best mortgage rate on the market.

When it’s time to apply for your mortgage, you can submit an online enquiry through our free mortgage broker service. One of our qualified financial advisors will call you back at a time that suits you to get your application started.

Since our mortgage service is fully digital from start to finish, everything can be carried out online from the comfort of your home!  

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