Mortgage lending up 12% in first half of 2019

Updated / Friday, 9 Aug 2019 18:11

The average interest rate charged on a new mortgage fell in June, but is still well above the euro area average

There was a 12% increase in the volume of new mortgages agreed in the first half of 2019, according to the Central Bank.

Mortgages worth €3.8 billion were agreed in the first six months of the year, with €714m of that coming in June alone.

During the month the average interest rate on all new mortgages in Ireland was 2.99%, down 0.13 percentage points year-on-year.

That compares to an average of 1.61% across the euro area, with Ireland having the second highest average in the bloc behind Greece.

The Central Bank data shows that fixed mortgages are becoming a more popular option among Irish borrowers, representing 72% of all new agreements in the three months to June.

That compares to 59% of all new agreements in the same period of 2018, and a euro area average of 81%.

Diarmuid Kelly, CEO of Brokers Ireland said the drop in the average interest rate being charged signalled "a bit more of a competitive force coming into a market that up to recent times lacked any evidence of competition."

However he said the fact that Irish borrowers were still paying far higher rates than those seen in other European countries was a costly problem.

"Nonetheless, the fact remains Irish mortgage holders are paying 1.38% more than their euro area counterparts," he said. "In mortgage terms that amounts to a massive €76,291 more on a €300,000 mortgage over 30 years, or €63,576 more on a €250,000 mortgage over a similar term."

He urged people to shop around for the best deal, including existing mortgage holders who could stand to save money by switching provider.