Mortgage rates here down but still the second highest in the euro zone

IRELAND was the only Eurozone country to see its mortgage rates fall in June, but we still have the second highest rates in the currency area.

And the spread between mortgage rates here and the rest of Europe has narrowed in recent months.

The figures were recorded before the European Central Bank (ECB) announced a sharp 0.5% hike in its key rates last month.

The average rate on new mortgages there was now 2.68% in June, down from 2.73% in May, according to the latest data from the Central Bank of Ireland.

Ireland is the only country in the 19-member eurozone to experience a monthly rate cut.

In June, all the other countries experienced an increase in their average rate, some of which were significant.

However, the average interest rate on a new mortgage in Ireland is second only to Greece in the euro zone of 19 countries. Rates are at 3.10pc in Greece.

The eurozone average is 1.90%, its highest level since at least August 2017.

In contrast, the average Irish mortgage rate is at its lowest on record.

A new buyer couple borrowing €270,000 over 30 years in this country will end up paying €105 more per month than the eurozone average.

This amounts to a difference of €1,260 over one year.

There has been mixed news on the home mortgage front in recent months, with Permanent TSB, Bank of Ireland and EBS all cutting some of their rates.

But ICS Mortgages, Avant Money and Finance Ireland have increased some of theirs.

Daragh Cassidy of price comparison site said it was ironic that rates are falling here and rising in other eurozone countries as the ECB raises key rates.

“There is something deeply ironic that as the ECB started to raise rates, and rates for all the other eurozone countries started to skyrocket, they are falling here.”

The ECB hike last month prompted all major lenders to say they would not pass the hike on to their fixed or floating rate clients just yet.

But follow rates will increase this month.

Mr Cassidy said this meant that later in the year we could see Ireland having rates very close to the eurozone average, for a while at least.

“It would be a bizarre but very welcome turnaround.”

Rates in Germany, at 2.59%, are now almost as high as in Ireland, which no one would have predicted a few months ago.

Mr Cassidy said the ECB had signaled it would continue to raise rates, which could rise another percentage point.

“Most of this increase will eventually be passed on to mortgage customers. It depends on the competitive pressures to which banks are subject. I could see another 0.25 percentage point increase not passed on by the banks,” Cassidy said.

He said anyone with a variable rate should seriously consider locking into a longer-term fixed rate.

Banks blame Central Bank rules that require them to set aside more capital when issuing a mortgage than their counterparts in the rest of the euro zone.

This is seen as a legacy of the financial crash of over a decade ago.

They also argue that slow repossession processes, even when nothing has been paid on a mortgage for 10 years, is a key factor in rates being higher here than in the rest of the euro zone.


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