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.

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.

Mass mortgage switching would ‘terrorise’ banks

A plan to get thousands of people to switch their mortgages to another lender is set to “terrorise” banks and force them to cut their rates.

The Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation (IMHO) will do the switching for people who are being overcharged for their variable rates, in a move that would overcome consumer inertia according to experts.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has received a report from the Central Bank and is set to call in all the main lenders next week to pressurise them to reduce rates. He said he would like to see a series of phased reductions in variable rates.

Meanwhile, the IMHO is aiming to get up to 25,000 people to act – by teaming up with the One Big Switch Campaign, a group that has already done deals with electricity providers and health insurers for those who sign up with it.

David Hall of the IMHO said banks would dread such a mass switching cam

The plan is to get at least 10,000 people who owe less than their properties are worth to commit to moving their mortgage to a lender with a lower rate.

Switching to the best-value mortgage could see a family with a €250,000 home-loan saving around €1,500 a year. This is because there is a one percentage point gap between the highest and lowest variable rates in the market


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.

Are first-time buyers being ruled out of the market?

The property market in Dublin and other sought-after areas has slowed significantly because first-time buyers (FTBs) can’t get mortgages to buy properties there under the new Central Bank rules.

Typical working couples are getting approved for €100,000 less in mortgage borrowings under those rules. This is forcing FTBs to either rent or to buy further afield. It is also believed the recently discussed first-time buyer grant, if re-introduced, will be of little, if any, help to house hunters. The State grant, which would likely be between €3,000 and €5,000, was discussed at a Labour Party parliamentary meeting earlier this month.

A couple earning €75,000 between them, which is around the average wage each, could have borrowed between €340,000 and €360,000 before the rules kicked in on February 9 – as long as they could prove they were saving or paying rent equivalent to the mortgage repayments on that mortgage for at least six months. That couple could today borrow €262,000 – that’s a massive drop.”

FTBs on average salaries who are looking to buy property in or near Dublin have been hammered by the new rules.

The average first-time buyer will find it harder to get a deposit together so they can buy in Dublin, even Lucan or Celbridge may be beyond their reach. So they have been driven to look to commuter belt areas like Enfield, Kilcock, Portlaoise and Drogheda.


Dubliners hit hardest with new lending rules.

The new Central Bank rules on mortgage lending, while not as harsh as expected, still came as a huge blow to many house hunters. Most of those looking to buy a home today must now get together a larger deposit than had previously been the case.

We are in a state of flux at the moment when it comes to analysing the real impact of the new rules and ultimately it is still much too early to tell.

Many people had mortgage approval from banks before the rules kicked in and they still have time to proceed with these mortgage agreements to buy a property. Hence, much of the activity we are seeing on the market now is from these people.

What has become glaringly apparent is that where you want to live in the country will be a huge factor in determining the impact of the new rules. Ultimately, first-time buyers in Dublin, particularly those on low or middle incomes, have been crucified

Under the new rules, first-time buyers still only need a 10pc deposit – as long as the house they are buying is worth no more than €220,000. Otherwise, they must have a higher deposit for the portion of the home that is worth more than €220,000.

The average asking price nationwide is now €201,000, according to the latest house price report from As this is below the €220,000 limit, many first-time buyers won’t be put out by the new rules. However, this is just a national average – the county averages vary hugely.

The most expensive areas in Ireland to buy three-bedroom properties are unsurprisingly all in Dublin. The average asking prices in Dublin, as well as Kildare and Wicklow, are well above the national average. However, average asking prices in Cork, Galway and Limerick are below the national average.

So what can house hunters do to ensure they can buy within the boundaries of the new rules?

First, if you have been saving for a deposit, continue to save. While you may have to alter the value of the properties you have been looking at, you don’t know what the future will bring and what will happen to house prices.

Second, don’t rush! All this uncertainty makes people on edge and often people can make rash decisions when they are feeling like that. Buying a house is a huge and long-term purchase. So the same deciding factors apply. Is it an area that you want to live in? Can you imagine yourself there long-term? And so on.

Third, affordability is key. It’s not just up to the banks or the regulatory bodies to ascertain whether or not you can realistically afford a property. Be prudent. You’re the one who will have to meet the monthly repayments which will directly impact the lifestyle you can have.

State-funded grants for First-time Buyers under Labour.

First-time buyers will receive state-funded grants to help them meet strict Central Bank deposit limits, under plans being considered by Environment Minister Alan Kelly.

This news comes as senior Government sources last night said its announcement on a new mortgage arrears plan is now not expected until after the Spring Statement on the economy on April 28.

This is because of continued disagreement between the Coalition over Labour demands to reduce the bankruptcy term from three years to one year.

The new Labour proposals, which are being driven by a number of party backbenchers, are being targeted at couples living in urban areas who cannot meet the deposit rules in order to obtain a mortgage.

The measures will mean the minister directs local authorities to provide cash grants to applicants struggling to get onto the property market in cities such as Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. A similar scheme, which previously saw first-time buyers being given grants of up to £IR3,000, was scrapped in 2002.

Irish house buyers being charged much higher interest rates than others in europe – Central Bank

Irish house buyers are being charged way above the euro zone average in interest on their mortgages, according to the latest Central Bank data.

The cost of a typical new mortgage here increased in February, according to new figures from the Central Bank.

The average interest rate charged for a new variable rate mortgage was 4.2pc in Ireland at the end of February, according to the Central Bank.

The latest figures will add to the controversy over the high cost of Irish loans for customers with Standard Variable Rate mortgages.

When the interest rate on restructured home loans is included the average cost of a new or restructured mortgage falls to 3.38pc. The euro area average was 2.09pc

The average interest paid by all mortgage borrowers however is 2.72pc, a figure that reflects the nearly one-in-two home loans with a tracker rate that has an explicit link to the official ECB rate.


Help needed for those on sky-high variable mortgage rates.

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has no plans to force banks to reduce sky-high variable mortgage rates, beyond asking them to show their customers “a degree of understanding”.

Mr Kenny appeared to be laying the groundwork for a U-turn on the Government stance that it cannot intervene in the day-to-day workings of the banks yesterday, by saying he would put pressure on them to cut variable rate holders some slack and pass on lower European Central Bank rates.

“I expect the banks to do better than they have been doing in respect of variable mortgage interest rates,” he said.

However, his spokesperson said there was “nothing further to add” when questioned last night as to what Mr Kenny would do if banks didn’t reduce home-loan payments.

More than 300,000 families on variable rates are paying interest rates that are four times higher than those on tracker rates.

Showing up Mr Kenny’s weak position, Finance Minister Michael Noonan insisted he has no actual legal powers to allow him to act.

However, Mr Noonan is expected to meet with the Central Bank governor today to discuss the issue.

“I will again speak to the governor of the Central Bank and ask the bank to see what influence they can bring to bear, to bring the variable mortgage rates closer to the cost of funds,” said Mr Noonan.

Variable rates here are more than double those charged elsewhere in the eurozone.

The gap in what is being charged means that a family with 20 years left to pay on a €200,000 mortgage, on a variable rate, is paying €4,000 more a year than a family with a tracker owing the same amount.

And the rates being charged to new mortgage customers are €600-a-year less than to existing variable rate mortgage payers.