First Time Buyers lead the way as mortgage drawdowns and approvals continue to rise

As the Irish economy continues to reopen following the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, mortgage approvals and drawdowns have remained on the rise. Recent figures from the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has shown data on mortgage drawdowns and approvals for the second quarter of 2021.

According to the data from BPFI, some 9,625 new mortgages were drawn down in the second quarter of 2021. This represents an increase of 45.4 percent in volume when compared to the same data from the second quarter of 2020, when the pandemic was at its height. These new mortgages have a total value of €2.23 billion, representing an increase in value of 52.5 percent when compared with the same period a year ago. BPFI reports that of these new mortgages, first time buyers represent the largest segment, accounting for some 50.9 percent of all new mortgages.

The vast majority of new mortgages drawn down were to finance a purchase of a home. In the second quarter, there were 7,438 mortgage drawdowns for purchases, with a combined value totaling €1.8 billion, a 47.8 …

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5 tips to improve your credit rating

Your credit rating is crucial when applying for a mortgage or any type of loan. The better your credit rating, the higher the chance you will qualify for a good rate from your lender. Having an average or below average rating can greatly reduce your choice of lender and have an adverse affect on your rate. Here are some tips to make sure your credit rating is as high as possible.

1. Use Credit cards wisely

Using credit cards responsibly on a regular basis is key to boosting your score. Banks may ask you for 12 months of credit card statements, and being behind on your credit payments will decrease your chances of getting a loan. Instead, use your credit card for small amounts, and keep up with your monthly repayments. This shows that you can reliably pay back the money you borrow.

2. Don’t miss loan repayments

Making all your payments on time is the factor that impacts your credit score the most. When you pay your credit cards or other loans on time, it goes on your file …

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Enough office space for 30,000 workers to be built in Dublin this year

As the post-Covid return of the economy continues, many office-based workplaces are deciding what to do regarding sending workers back to the office. After more than a year of remote work only, it appears more and more likely that most workplaces will be adopting some sort of hybrid model in the near future, with staff splitting time between working from home and in traditional offices.

While this change had been underway, it has been accelerated by the pandemic. However, this does not mean that there is not a lot of demand for traditional office space from employers. Estate agency Savills reports that enough office space to accommodate 30,000 workers will be constructed in Dublin this year. This equates to 196,000 square meters of space over 33 buildings. This represents a surge in demand for office space when compared with 2020, showing a 35 percent increase on the amount of space that came to market in the nation’s capital last year.

This space is being filled at a rate that is surprising when considering the shift to hybrid or remote work …

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“Covid Effect” continues to drive up Irish house prices

The sharp increase in Irish house prices over the past year could continue in the near future, analysts say. In a recent survey of estate agents, four out of five surveyed predicted that national property prices would rise in the next year. The same survey also found that prices in some regions could rise by as much as 7 percent.

However, the rise in prices is most significant outside of Dublin. While experts predicted a rise of 4 percent in Dublin, a sharper increase is projected in areas outside the capital city. In Leinster, the rise is expected to be 6 percent, and prices are expected to increase by as much as 7 percent in Munster, Connacht and Ulster.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) and the Central Bank of Ireland Residential Property Price Survey was conducted in May, surveying over 200 estate agents. In this survey, the estate agents blamed the higher price forecast on homes outside of Dublin on the “covid effect”. The experts said that covid lockdowns and remote work situations have increased the attractiveness of …

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Irish Households’ savings at record levels

Irish households saved more than 4 times the average amount during the first quarter of 2021, according to a recent study by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The CSO reports that Irish households saved more than €10 billion during the first three months of 2021.

This massive increase in savings was undoubtedly related to Covid-19 and it’s corresponding economic restrictions. Due to businesses being closed because of lockdowns, government unemployment benefits, or some combination of the two, incomes either held steady or increased, while spending was dramatically decreased. The CSO also reported that uncertainty about the pandemic and how long the lockdowns would last may have forced many Irish citizens to build up an increased amount of precautionary savings, in case money became tight in the future.

When looking at the numbers, it is no surprise that savings grew dramatically when compared to the first quarter of 2020. Compared to the first three months of last year, Government subsidies increased by €1.1 billion, and social protection payments rose by an even larger margin of €2.7 billion.

While the Pandemic Unemployment …

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Lockdowns cause surge on home improvement spending in Ireland

The coronavirus pandemic created many unforseen circumstances in people’s daily lives. Perhaps the biggest among these was the effects of the lockdown. People had to stay in their homes for much longer than they normally would, and many people were stuck working at home. It is no surprise, then, that a record number of home improvement projects have been carried out over the last year and a half.

Research by Aviva Insurance Ireland shows that 1.5 million homeowners have carried out work on their homes over the past year, with the total cost of these projects coming in at more than €11 billion. In addition to these numbers, another 861,000 people have plans to undertake home improvement projects, the survey says. The survey captured almost every type of home improvement imaginable, from minor fixes like painting a room or replacing windows, to large projects like building extensions onto homes or adding a home office, the latter of which was definitely popular as the country and the world transitioned to a remote work environment.

Aviva Insurance added that this surge in …

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How to get the lowest rate on your mortgage

When applying for a mortgage, you will notice that rates vary greatly. These rates determine on a number of things, including the length of your mortgage term, the size of your deposit, your credit score, and which lender you choose. With so many different mortgage lenders available to choose from, this can be a daunting process, especially for first time buyers. Securing the lowest rate is incredibly important, as it will make your monthly payments smaller, thus saving you money over the whole lifetime of the loan. Here are a few things to focus on during your application process to ensure you get the lowest rate possible.

Shop Around

You wouldn’t buy a car without driving a few first, or a mattress without laying down on more than one, right? In a similar way, if you want the best mortgage rate, you should shop around with different lenders. This process should entail researching different lenders and the products they have to offer, as every lender has different loan types, terms, and interest rates. You also should apply for more than …

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Looking to renovate your home? Here’s how to pay for it

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, we have all been spending a lot more time at home. This newfound time in your house may have inspired you to make some changes around the house, such as a basement remodel or turning that spare room into a home office for your remote work. Renovating your home can be a major project, and there are a variety of ways to pay for it. Whether you are doing something as simple as a kitchen or bathroom remodel, or something major like changing your home’s appearance or adding an extension, these projects can become quite expensive. There are many ways to pay for these projects, such as cash, a credit card, or a loan.

The best and cheapest way to pay for anything, especially renovations, is cold, hard, cash. If you don’t have enough savings to complete your project, and can afford to wait until you do, there’s no better time to start than now. Start improving your bank balance by setting aside a certain amount of money each time you get paid. …

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AIB to close branches due to pandemic in controversial decision

The covid-19 pandemic and its related lockdowns have had a number of effects on the financial landscape both in Ireland and worldwide. One of the biggest effects has been the shift to contactless payments and online banking. This trend was only increased due to lockdowns, as the bank’s physical locations were closed, leading to more customers accessing their money online or through the bank’s app.

On Tuesday, Allied Irish Banks (AIB) said that it had conducted a “detailed strategic review” to examine the changes in how customers interact with banks. In the review, the bank stated that “Following the unrelenting shift in customer preference for digital banking over the last number of years, AIB is announcing the amalgamation of 15 branches in locations across the country by December this year”. The vast majority of these 15 branches being closed are in urban and suburban locations in Dublin and Cork. Accounts in the closing branches will be moved to neighboring branches, and these closures will leave AIB with 170 remaining physical branches. About 100 AIB employees will be affected by this …

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How do mortgages work?

If you’re looking to buy a home, you’ve probably already realized that this is not like most transactions. The average house price in Dublin is €396,000, and unless you’re very wealthy, you probably don’t have anywhere that much in savings. Because you likely can’t afford an expense of this magnitude out of your own pocket, you will need to finance the purchase through a mortgage, and if you’re new to the home-buying process, you may be a little confused as to how exactly these loans work.

A mortgage is a huge loan secured against the value of your house. A “secured” loan means that the borrower promises collateral to the lender in the event that they are unable to make payments, and in this case, the collateral is your home. In other words, the bank will kick you out and take possession of your house if you can’t make payments. In order to prevent this from happening, the lender will typically conduct a detailed review of the borrower’s finances in order to determine how much they can reasonably afford to …

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