Making Cents: Is now the time to make a mortgage switch and save for the future?

House buyers are being urged to shop around and seek specialist advice before choosing a lender
Making Cents: Is now the time to make a mortgage switch and save for the future?

House buyers are being urged to shop around and seek specialist advice before committing to a home loan Picture: PA

With some lenders reducing mortgage rates and new providers entering the market, house buyers are being urged to shop around and seek specialist advice before committing to a home loan.

Last week, Avantcard announced that it will enter the Irish mortgage market this autumn. 

Avantcard is owned by Spanish banking group, Bankinter, which already has a substantial mortgage business in both Spain and Portugal and the company said switchers, movers and first-time buyers will be able to avail of the new products through a number of mortgage brokers.

“We are delighted to be entering the Irish mortgage market,” Chris Paul, CEO of Avantcard said. 

“Supported by our parent, Bankinter, and building on our strong consumer finance legacy, we are confident that we will be able to provide markedly better value for customers and deliver genuine, long-lasting change.”  

 Permanent TSB announced changes to their mortgage interest rates, with reduction to both fixed and variable rates. The cuts will benefit both new and existing customers.
Permanent TSB announced changes to their mortgage interest rates, with reduction to both fixed and variable rates. The cuts will benefit both new and existing customers.

The following day, Permanent TSB announced changes to their mortgage interest rates today, with reduction to both fixed and variable rates. 

The cuts will benefit both new and existing customers.

The announcements were described by Trevor Grant, chairperson of the Association of Irish Mortgage Advisors (AIMA), as ‘good news for consumers all round’.

“It’s great to see PTSB reducing their interest rates,” he said. 

“This new announcement ensures equity amongst all PTSB customers which is only right and fair.

“Undoubtedly, the Avant Money announcement of their intention to enter the market with likely market leading and possibly record low rates, has kick-started a mortgage rate review by all lenders that’s likely to bode well for customers.” 

He believes these announcements are likely to trigger rate reductions by other lenders and urged prospective buyers to shop around and not simply take a mortgage from their current bank.

“This is likely to generate a surge in switching,” Mr Grant said. 

“Whilst there are a number of valid reasons for rates in Ireland being higher than elsewhere, there is no doubt that there is some scope for further reductions in certain rate categories, particularly in long-term fixed rates.

“With so much market change likely, and the number of options increasing, it is now more important than ever that prospective mortgages customers obtain advice from a dedicated mortgage intermediary who can advise them on all of their market options and assist them in obtaining the most suitable product to match their unique circumstances and requirements.

Experts are predicting  a'surge' in switching mortgage providers.
Experts are predicting  a'surge' in switching mortgage providers.

“Unless you are a market expert, comparing various lender options is likely to prove very time consuming, while simply going direct to your own bank could be a costly exercise, as lenders are not obliged to tell you that there may be a better deal elsewhere.” 

AIMA say the presence of new lenders in the Irish market make going to a broker the best option for customers.

“As new mortgage lenders such as Dilosk, Finance Ireland, ICS and now Avant Money, come to the Irish market, they have invariably chosen specialist mortgage intermediaries as their primary distribution channel,” Mr Grant said. 

“Currently 3 out of 10 consumers use the services of a specialist mortgage intermediaries when applying for a mortgage, and we expect this to grow exponentially in the coming years.

“This is mainly due to the fact that these intermediaries can provide greater product choice across the board, as well as often being able to offer better rates that are exclusively available through this channel.”

Deal of the week

School uniforms are one of many costs parents face at this time of year.
School uniforms are one of many costs parents face at this time of year.

With schools set to reopen by the end of the month, preparations are underway in households across the county. 

School uniforms are one of many costs parents face at this time of year and most major retailers have uniform offers on sale at the moment. 

One of these, Tesco, is offering a 100-day guarantee on its F&F uniform range, promising parents they can "kit-out the kids with confidence, knowing that if the uniform wears quicker than expected, Tesco can exchange it". 

Customers will need to have their receipt to avail of the guarantee. 

The range includes boys’ and girls’ uniforms for ages 3-16. 

A two-pack of polo shirts starts at €3, a two-pack of sweatshirts from €5, skirts two-pack from €7.50, and girls trousers two-pack from €7.50. 

Features include adjustable waists, secure hems, stain repellent and special dye to keep uniforms looking newer for longer. 

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