House hunters crippled by high interest rates should be able to shop around for mortgages in any country in Europe, according to Fianna Fáil.
Interest rates on mortgages issued here stood at 3.21% in July according to the latest figures from the Central Bank. This is far higher than the average rate of 1.77% across the eurozone.
Fianna Fáil’s spokesman on jobs, enterprise, and innovation, Billy Kelleher, has called for the establishment of a European Mortgage Market, which he said is critical to “levelling the playing field and ensuring that Irish consumers stop getting fleeced” by Irish banks.
He said this system would allow house buyers to secure a mortgage from outside of the nine financial lending institutions operating here.
“Why can’t Irish consumers secure their mortgage off a provider in the UK, France, or Germany?” the Cork North-Central TD asked.
Writing in today’s Irish Examiner, Mr Kelleher said: “It’s already incredibly difficult to save the deposit to get a mortgage. It’s taking young people and couples longer and longer to scrape it together. This extra financial cost to taking out a mortgage is not acceptable.
“Fianna Fáil will work with its colleagues across Europe to deliver a mortgage market that is both fair and competitive. We’ll pressure the Irish Government to raise it at European Council level. Leaving it as is takes money out of all our pockets and that just isn’t on.”
The latest figures show there was a 34% year-on-year increase in new mortgage agreements in the 12 months to July, with the volume of new mortgage agreements amounting to €864m, bringing total new agreements to €7.7bn over the past 12 months.