the number of mortgage agreements provided by dutch banks and other institutions fell for the first time in five years in the first quarter of 2017 according to a new report by ig&h consultants.despite the drop in the number of mortgages, the average value of a mortgage topped €300,000 in the first quarter of this year, a 7% gain and the highest level ever, ih&g said.fewer than 80,000 mortgages were issued in the first three months of this year, representing a 3% decline over the year-earlier period, the  consultancy said on wednesday.the sharpest decline was seen in the starters market where there were 11% fewer mortgages than a year earlier, ih&g said.as prices rise, the housing market is being closed off to first-time buyers which formed the largest group of people signing up for mortgages four years ago. starters now account for less than a quarter of all mortgages.