The research showed that between 2005 and 2006, €5.5 billion of mortgage top-up loans were drawn-down annually, accounting for a third of all loans issued and 15 per cent of new loan balances.
The average top-up loan was worth about €50,000 to €60,000 during the 2000s, the Central Bank said, although the peak of the boom saw a move towards larger loans of more than €150,000 to invest in additional properties. Other uses for the cash included housing repair, maintenance and upgrades for existing properties.
However, by 2011, the total value of top-up loans for equity release had fallen to €195 million.
The report also noted a number of other trends in the market. It found that equity withdrawal was more common in households where the head was under 40 years of age, or worked in financial services, the public sector or the construction sector.