Want to switch mortgages in Ireland?

By switching your mortgage, you can save a lot of money. Mortgage is most likely to be the biggest household expense for many years, so this bill is one that most people do not want to overpay on. Therefore, just like any other bill, you should always opt to switch your mortgage every few years so that you can be sure that you are not overpaying.

Without a doubt, you could save a lot by switching mortgages. If you have a mortgage with a balance of €250,000 and are currently paying 4.5 percent standard variable rate, and have a minimum of 20 percent equity in your home, you could save approximately €300 each month by switching to the most affordable on the market. This translates to a lot of savings. Despite the fact that there are certain upfront costs linked to switching providers, banks can offer cashback to the individuals who switch. 

Every financial institution has its unique set of criteria for allowing its customers to switch their mortgage. In the event that your financial situation has changed negatively since …

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What will the Local Property Tax changes mean for you?

On 2 June 2021, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed the details of the Local Property Tax (LPT) changes. Once the changes go into effect on 1 November, the government estimates that just over a third (36 percent) of property owners will see an increase on their bill, just over half (53 percent) will see no change at all, and 11 percent will see their tax payments reduced.

First off, what is the Local Property Tax? The Local Property Tax was introduced in 2013, and it is an annual charge on all residential properties in the State. Basically, if you own a residential property, you will have to pay this tax. The charges are currently based on self-assessed valuations carried out in 2013. The amount you pay is based on the valuation of your property, and there are 20 different LPT bands, with the lowest two having fixed rate charges of €90 and €225. The problem with these valuations is that property prices have surged since 2013, while the valuations of property for LPT purposes have not changed since 1 May 2013. …

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5 Things to Consider when Viewing a House in Ireland

As a first time buyer, viewing houses can be exhausting. There are countless things to consider, such as the layout of the home, the location and nearby schools, and much, much more. This can be a bit overwhelming when viewing open houses, as there is so much to observe you might miss some key details about the property. In this article, we will discuss 5 key things to observe and be aware of when viewing houses, so your dream home doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

1.How long has the property been on the market?

The first question you should ask the estate agent is how long the property has been on the market. If a property has been on the market for more than a few months and still isn’t selling, there’s usually a reason why. While this could come down to a number of things, from price to hidden structural issues to low demand, this is a good gauge of potential red flags.

2. Account for renovation

Many people make the mistake of buying houses that appear to be …

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5 Tips to Protect Yourself from Cyber Crime

Cyber Criminals have many ways to access and steal your financial information online. In the past year, this threat has only increased due to the covid-19 pandemic and its effects, namely the increased amount of online banking and transactions. As fintech continues to make more and more advancements and we move closer to a true ‘cashless society’, making sure your personal finances are secure will be more important than ever. Whether it’s strengthening your passwords or using antivirus protection, there are many steps you can take to make sure your personal information and assets are safe and secure. Here are 5 easy tips to get you started. 

 

Protect Your Passwords!

You’ve probably heard that having a strong password is essential to your online security, and this couldn’t be more true. Use passwords of more than eight characters, containing both upper and lowercase letters as well as special characters. Avoid using the same password on multiple websites. If you do, a hacker could compromise all of your accounts with one lucky guess. For additional security, you can also consider using …

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Has Covid-19 Permanently Changed the Work Landscape?

The government says so. In a time where so many people in Ireland and across the globe have switched to remote working due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, employers and employees alike have been forced to adapt. With more than a year of remote working under their belts, people have been able to observe the many benefits and drawbacks that come with remote working.

 

Now, the Government’s National Remote Work Strategy aims to encourage remote working after the pandemic. The government says its main objective is to “ensure remote work is a permanent feature in the Irish workplace” in the future.  In this strategy, the government breaks down what it believes to be the benefits and challenges that come with working remotely during a pandemic. There are several benefits, including improving work/life balance, more time spent with children and family, and reducing the amount of time spent commuting. However, there are several challenges, particularly when it comes to mental health of employees. In a virtual workspace,  employees  often experience feelings of isolation, loneliness, and stress. Another benefit is the …

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How credit card fraudsters are adapting to the Pandemic, and how you can be safe

While many businesses had to adapt during 2020, including a major shift from physical to online retail, payment card fraudsters also had to adapt. COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, especially in the first two quarters of 2020, dramatically changed the way shopping was done around the globe. 

 

Payment card fraud numbers from the first two quarters, according to BPFI, are quite concerning. The latest credit and debit card fraud losses for the first half of 2020 amounted to €12.2 million across more than 143,000 fraudulent debit and credit card transactions. While consumers dramatically changed their shopping behavior from physical retail to online, fraudsters followed suit. Because of this, there was a 21% increase in ‘card not present’ fraud transactions. These transactions occur online when a fraudster uses the details of a credit or debit card they have stolen without the card being physically present. Following the trend from in-store retail to online, there was also a parallel decrease in physical instances of fraud. In-store, or point of sale, cases of fraud were down 52% in the first half of 2020, when …

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Could harsher punishments for mortgages in arrears lead to lower rates?

Mortgages are notoriously expensive in Ireland, with rates twice those of the Eurozone average. How best to address this problem has been a hot-button issue in Ireland for some time. Now, some are putting forward a new solution: harsher punishments for borrowers with mortgages in arrears. One of Irish banks’ stated reasons for rates being so high is that failing to meet mortgage payments doesn’t have high enough consequences for borrowers. For example, home repossessions in Ireland aren’t very common, since the process is so complex and can take several years. As a result, loans are riskier investments for lenders in Ireland relative to other Eurozone countries. If this is indeed the reason for rates being high, it follows that tougher treatment of such borrowers would lead to lower rates for everyone else.

Regarding the number of borrowers this would affect, statistics from the Central Bank of Ireland show that 5.3% of all principle dwelling house (PDH) mortgage accounts were in arrears as of December 2020. This percentage includes a total of 38,785 accounts. However, it’s also worth noting …

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Are capital requirements for Irish banks too high?

In the aftermath of the financial crash of 2008, the European debt crisis, and the Irish banking crisis, in 2014 regulations were passed aimed at promoting higher banking standards to prevent similar crises in the future.

The first of these rules states that all Irish banks have initial starting capital of at least €5 million; they must always be in excess of this amount. Further, lenders have claimed that they must hold up to three times the capital for mortgages relative to average requirements throughout the rest of the EU.

These regulations largely seem to have accomplished the job they were instated, with the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) stating that there has been an increase in high quality loans and a corresponding decrease in problem loans.

However, there has been criticism as of late for the continued implementation of these rules, and for the harsh conditions they impose on lenders. It is possible that borrowers are also adversely affected by extension. For instance, it is claimed by major Irish banks that the high capital requirements are …

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Covid-19’s impact on mortgages

The covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on all areas of the financial world, including banks, loans, and mortgages. Mortgage arrears, or payments failed to be made by their original specified due date, had been consistently falling every year since 2013. However, Fitch predicts that arrears of at least 90 days will constitute about 14-16% of Irish home loans this year, their highest rate since the financial crisis.

Additionally, the pandemic has led to widespread payment breaks for mortgages in Ireland. Payment breaks involve the deferring of repayment of a loan to a later date; they do not change, however, reduce the total amount to be paid. In March of last year, the major banks in Ireland agreed to industry-wide payment breaks for those facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. This was done out of consideration for borrowers’ situations and lenders’ own desire to avoid high default rates. Ultimately, by May 2020, one in nine owner-occupier mortgage payments was on such a break.

Though this measure was taken of the industry’s own volition, soon after, the …

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Could Ireland be a leader in fintech development?

The financial technology (fintech) industry has seen rapid growth worldwide, in time with the rapid progress of technology itself. Examples of new products that have come with this trend are loan management software, crypto-currencies, and more. These products can be targeted for use by businesses as well as the average consumer, and together they led fintech to become a $200 billion industry worldwide in 2019; it is expected to be worth around $305 billion by 2025. The leader countries in fintech development as of 2020 include the U.S., the UK, and Singapore, with developing countries like China also expected to become major players in the near future.

However, Ireland may also have the potential to become a global fintech hub in the near future. Ireland’s pro-business governance makes it an appealing place for businesses looking to enter the industry. One aspect of this appeal is its low corporate tax rate of 12.5%. Additionally, its research & development tax credit of 25% makes it very friendly to tech companies and encourages continued innovation. Its double taxation agreements with many other EU …

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