Mortgage rates for Irish customers edge upwards

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Irish mortgage rates continue to be among the highest in the eurozone as the average rate increased in April, according to the Central Bank.

The regulator said the weighted average interest rate on all new mortgages agreed in Ireland stood at 3.03% in April, up three basis points on the previous month.

The average rate for the euro area stood at 1.70%, although the rate varied considerably across countries, the Central Bank said.

Irish mortgage holders pay the second highest in the eurozone.

Brokers Ireland said there was no good reason for the increase in April.

Chief executive of the organisation which represents 1,250 broker firms, Diarmuid Kelly said: "There is no real rationale for this change, on the contrary the international environment would indicate otherwise."

With 72% of all new agreements now fixed-rate mortgages, edging closer to the 81% eurozone average, Mr Kelly said: “Irish consumers do not have the benefit of truly long-term fixed interest rates for periods of 20 years or more, like many of their European counterparts.

Many in the eurozone know when they take out their mortgage the precise interest rate they will be paying for the next 20 years or more, which gives a level of security and enables consumers to plan ahead with greater confidence.

He claimed the volume of new mortgage agreements at €2.3bn for the first four months of the year was low and indicated that on this basis the total for the year was likely to come in around €7bn.

“This would be a very weak figure and is indicative of the lack of affordable homes in the market and the difficulty accessing mortgages," he said.

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