Fianna Fáil renews call on Europe’s costliest home mortgages

Michael McGrath, Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson

Fianna Fáil, which is helping to prop up the minority Coalition, has pledged its controversial sponsored bill to persuade the Central Bank to place some sort of cap on variable mortgage rates will be renewed when the Oireachtas returns from its summer break.

It comes as another Central Bank bulletin again showed that the average Irish cost of a home loan at 3.3% was much higher than the eurozone average of just over 1.8%.

Official surveys have repeatedly shown Irish households and small businesses are charged among the highest interest rates in Europe, even as rock-bottom ECB rates are designed to boost the eurozone economy following the continent’s devastating debt crisis.

Experts have said the higher borrowing costs for Irish households, which are among the most indebted in Europe, and for Irish firms, which still carry huge debts from the property crash, are effectively hidden taxes on Irish people and firms.

Michael McGrath, Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson, said plans are afoot to press ahead with controls over mortgage costs. “In particular, the provisions in the bill prohibiting discrimination by lenders between new and existing customers and the proposed ban on so called cash back offers so that lenders are forced to compete on rates, both would be of significant benefit to mortgage holders,” he said.

Lenders have said in the past that around half their mortgage books are on tracker rates which are linked to currently low ECB rates. Irish bank shares fell when plans for the bill were first announced over a year ago.

Separately, other Central Bank figures showed there was €1.12bn in interest bearing balances on personal credit cards in June.


Lifestyle

This Christmas remember that there is no such thing as cheap food.Buy local: Use your LOAF

As we wait, eager and giddy, a collective shudder of agitated ardor ripples through the theatre, like a Late, Late Toyshow audience when they KNOW Ryan’s going to give them another €150 voucher. Suddenly, a voice booms from the stage. Everyone erupts, whooping and cheering. And that was just for the safety announcement.Everyman's outstanding Jack and the Beanstalk ticks all panto boxes

Every band needs a Bez. In fact, there’s a case to be made that every workplace in the country could do with the Happy Mondays’ vibes man. Somebody to jump up with a pair of maracas and shake up the energy when things begin to flag.Happy Mondays create cheery Tuesday in Cork gig

More From The Irish Examiner