The Government's decision to extend the Abhaile support scheme has been welcomed by the chief executive of Banking and Payments Federation Ireland, Brian Hayes.
It was a “good decision” to extend the scheme, which provides free financial and legal advice to borrowers struggling with their mortgages, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
The scheme will be extended for a further four years. Since it was established it has assisted 26,400 households.
"It's a very good decision, and we work closely as an industry with all of the service providers within Abhaile," Mr Hayes said.
"In excess of 100,000 mortgages have been restructured by the Irish banking sector and retail credit service sector over the course of the last decade.
"We're in the business of finding solutions for people who get into debt, so Abhaile and the work they do across the legal and financial area is really important. It's a very good decision by Government," he added.
Mr Hayes was commenting on the 0.4 per cent drop in drawdowns by first time buyers in the second quarter of the year, which he said was "very slight" when it came to first time buyers.
"The real story in the Quarter 2 figures of the 10,000 new mortgages that have been written by Irish banks, the non-bank lenders in the second quarter of this year represents just short of €3 billion of new investment.
"The great story in that is that the majority of those mortgages that have been drawn down are to first-time buyers. Those first-time buyers now represent in excess of 60 per cent of all new lending in the mortgage market, and that's a big change," he explained.
"What we're seeing is the first time buyer market is growing substantially in a circumstance where overall credit demand across mortgage and indeed other products and in financial services is told somewhat as a consequence of increasing mortgage rates as a consequence of inflation."
Rising interest rates on the "pipeline for drawdowns" could have an impact, he warned, but added there is a very strong demand for new housing, especially for first-time buyers.
"The most interesting figure from the stats today is the fact that when it comes to new home purchase mortgages, 82 per cent of those new homes in terms of mortgages are going to first-time buyers, so the position of the first time buyer in the market is very different now.
"It seems that all the construction industry is beginning to build housing for that segment of the market, which is important because there's a massive demand there."