Bill proposes giving powers to Central Bank on rates

The Central Bank would be given powers to limit what interest rates banks could charge on variable mortgages, under legislation proposed by Sinn Féin.

The proposed legislation would give the Central Bank new powers to set out the maximum rate of interest that any of the five domestic banks could charge.

This restriction would mean that a new entrant to the market would not be discouraged by fears that their rates might be subject to control.

Sinn Féin has said the Government’s response to high variable rates has not been adequate.

Some 300,000 mortgage holders are paying among the highest variable rates in the eurozone.

The high cost of variables works out at around €300 a month more than the cost for a similar-sized mortgage in the rest of the Eurozone.

Young people are moving back home to save for a deposit

Thousands of younger people are moving back to their parents’ homes in a bid to save money for a deposit for a house, a survey has found.

The belief that Ireland is likely to follow Europe by becoming a nation of renters is widespread and particularly strong among the 18- to 24-year age group, the survey of 1,000 people found. Three-quarters of people in this age group believe Ireland will become a nation of renters.

But 70pc of all age groups believe that the expectation of owning their own home is now unrealistic.

And brokers have warned people not to be sucked in by “glitzy” offers like cash back and money for paying legal fees when it comes to choosing a mortgage provider.

More than a quarter of people between the ages of 25 and 34 said they had moved back to their parents’ homes to save for a deposit on a home, according to the survey commissioned by Aviva Home Insurance.

Mortgage affordability improves slightly over last six months

Mortgage affordability has improved slightly over the last six months, according to lender EBS.

The EBS Affordability Index suggests that the proportion of disposable income required to fund a mortgage for the average first-time buyer working couple dropped to 19.5 per cent in April 2015, down from 20.6 per cent in October 2014.

As might be expected, the index shows that buyers in the Dublin housing market need a bigger chunk of their pay to meet their mortgage repayments.

In Dublin, a first-time buyer couple requires 22.6 per cent of earnings to fund their mortgage, down from 24.3 per cent in October 2014.

In Cork and Galway, the figure stands at 14.4 per cent and 13.4 per cent respectively.

Longford is the most affordable county in Ireland to buy a home, with a couple requiring only 6.9 per cent of their net income to fund their mortgage.

Mortgage-approval fall blamed on new rules

There has been a “stark” slowdown in the number of people being approved for mortgages, with Central Bank lending restrictions being blamed.

Figures from the Central Bank show that lending for house purchases declined at an annual rate of 2.6pc last month.A total of 2,130 people were approved for a mortgage for a house purchase in April, down from the figures for the previous month.

The average loan approval amount has aslo decreased- currently €188,900, down from €190,300 in March.

10 moments when you should review your life cover.

Life insurance is one of those things people forget about once they’ve bought it. However, you need to review it occasionally as your situation and your commitments change.

Here are 10 instances when a life cover review is essential:

1 Buying a house

Your mortgage will be the biggest debt you ever take on. You need to be sure it will be paid off should you die early, especially if you’re the main breadwinner.Banks and lenders often try to sell you life insurance when you start on the property ladder, but you should always compare prices before going ahead as there could be better and cheaper cover elsewhere.

2 Getting Married

Once all the fun of your wedding is over, you need to think about your new responsibilities. How would your partner cope alone with all the financial commitments you’ve taken on if they can’t rely on your salary too?

3 Having your first child

If you haven’t already bought life cover, it’s vital to buy it once you start a family. And if you have only insured for a small amount, you definitely need to review it now. Food, clothing, child care, schooling and even holidays all cost more once you have a little one.

4 Adding to your family

A second, third or more children all put a strain on your household budget. You’ve probably already noticed how much more salary you need to keep the family going. Is your life cover enough to pay for their needs should the worst happen and you are no longer there to provide for them?

5 Moving home

A larger home is likely to mean a bigger mortgage. Make sure your life insurance is enough to pay it off and, if you’ve increased the term of your home loan, that it runs for long enough.

6 Inheritance planning

Life insurance isn’t just about paying off large debts such as your mortgage should you die. It’s also about providing for your family’s day-to-day bills once you are no longer bringing in a salary.

7 Moving job

Many employers offer a perk known as ‘death in service’ benefit. This provides a lump sum to your named beneficiaries should you die while working for the firm. The amount is typically set at four times your annual salary.

If you move job, check the terms of your new employment. If you no longer have this benefit, you could need to increase the amount of life cover you have.

8 Retiring

Depending on your pension, it may mean that once you die your pension stops or at the very least your widow or widower will receive a smaller amount. If you’re worried they won’t have enough to live on without your pension, you could continue your life insurance.

9 Getting healthier

If you give up smoking, tell your insurer. Your premiums may come down. If not, you can look around for another insurer to see if it will be cheaper.

You must have given up smoking for at least 12 months before it counts and you can’t still be using nicotine replacement products such as inhalers, patches or chewing gum.

10 Dangerous activities

Those who take part in dangerous sports and hobbies such as flying, climbing, scuba diving and parachuting, will be considered a higher risk than normal and will no doubt have to pay a higher premium. Alternatively, your cover will exclude death as a result of one of these activities. If the company didn’t know about these activities and you die as a result, the claim is unlikely to be paid

Haven lead the way for mortgage rate reductions

As previously mentioned, Haven announced reductions to their range of fixed and variable mortgage rates.

They are now market leaders with their 2,3,4 and 5 year fixed rates. These discounts are  available to both new and existing customers.

Reductions vary between 0.10% and 0.20%. For example, a 2 year fixed rate that was 3.80% now stands at 3.60%- giving a generous 0.20% back to customers.

With effect from 1st June 2015 their standard variable rate will be reduced by 0.38%- dropping it from 4.35% to 3.97%.

Should you require any further information please get in touch with our brokerage team on 01-5052718 or email us at

Mortgage lending up in first quarter.

MORTGAGE lending surged in the first three months of the year.

New figures from the banks show that more than 5,600 new mortgages to the value of €983m were drawn down by borrowers here during the first quarter of the year.

This was up 64pc compared with the same quarter in the previous year, according to the Irish Banking and Payments Federation.

The jump in lending prompted analysts to say the housing market recovery is underway.However, many of those having a mortgage issued to them had approval before new Central Bank lending restrictions were imposed.

First-time buyers account for more than half of the mortgages issued, with those trading accounting for almost four out of 10 mortgages drawn down.

The average loan size rose to € 175,016 in the first quarter, up 5.5pc on the previous quarter.

The true impact of new lending criteria on the market situation will become more apparent in the latter half of 2015.

Deposit rate cuts mean just a third think now is a good time to save

ONLY a third of people believe that now is a good time to save, a new survey has found.

Savers have become more cautious about saving as banks continuously cut deposit rates.

The savings index found that just 32pc of people believe that now is a good time to save. But there has been a slight rise in the numbers who save regularly, up to 43pc in March.

Meanwhile, 80pc of adults under 35 don’t know the level of the State pension.

Half believe that they will have to work to at least 70, and over one third say they will need to work as long as they can.

The survey, commissioned by the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) and conducted by IReach, found older people have more awareness about pensions.

The function of the survey was to examine retirement planning in Ireland and whether people are being realistic as to their expectations for retirement age.

It estimates that those over 55 facing retirement appear to have greater awareness, with over 60pc knowing how much they will receive from the State when they retire.

The survey shows that pension participation is poor, with just 50pc of workers saving for retirement.

Is it cheaper to rent or buy in Ireland?

The number of rental properties available nationwide has dropped to its lowest point since 2006, and the difference between renting and buying property in Ireland today is now being compared.

Average rents nationwide between January and March stood at just over €960 – that is 8.2% higher than at the same point last year.

Compared to their lowest point (2010 in Dublin and 2012 in the commuter counties), rents have now risen by one-third in the capital and a quarter in the surrounding areas.

In the other city centres, rents continue to rise but at a slightly slower pace. In Cork city, rents are 7.5% higher than a year previously, similar to the increase seen in Galway 7.4%. In Limerick, rents have risen by 6.8% in a year, while in Waterford city rental inflation was 5.6%.

The report also compared the cost of owning versus renting in different areas of Ireland. It found that a first time buyer on a 4.3% variable rate mortgage buying a two bed property in Dublin city centre would on average be paying €954 per month, while renting costs €1,360. In Cork the buying cost was put at €392 per month, with rents at €665.

Haven Reduce Mortgage Interest Rates.

Haven are delighted to announce reductions to their suite of mortgage rates.. Applying to their fixed, standard variable and LTV variable rate products, these changes are a further demonstration of Haven’s desire to deliver real value for customers.

Standard variable rates are being cut from 4.35% to 3.97%, an overall reduction of 0.38%. LTV variable rates have been slashed by 0.25% across the board.

Two to five year fixed rates will see a drop of anywhere between 0.10% to 0.20% -depending on the fixed term.

Changes to fixed and LTV variable rates are effective from 7th May 2015, while the standard variable rates reduction comes in to effect in June 2015.

If you would like to discuss any of these changes further please do no hesitate to get in touch with us today.