Pros and cons of a variable rate mortgage

A variable rate mortgage is a mortgage in which the interest rate on the outstanding balance changes periodically. Typically, these loans will have fixed, or “teaser” interest rates for a specified amount of time, after which the interest rate will change based on a variety of factors. In most cases, the initial interest rate on a variable rate loan will be lower than a fixed rate, which can be appealing for homebuyers. But it is important to be aware of the pros and cons before jumping into a variable rate loan.

Pros

Flexibility

The number one advantage of a variable rate mortgage is flexibility. With a variable rate mortgage, you don’t need to worry about penalties for things like increasing your monthly payment, or paying off your mortgage early. You also have the ability to make lump-sum payments on your mortgage throughout the year, which can be very helpful for home buyers with a fluctuating income affected by bonuses or commissions. If your life is likely to change relatively soon, and you plan on eventually moving or selling the house, …

Read More

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 …

Read More

What is an Equity Release and how does it work?

Your equity in your home is how much you own. Think of it as the amount of your mortgage that you have already paid off, or the difference between your home’s market value and what you still owe the lender. So, once you have paid off your mortgage completely, you have 100% equity: you own it entirely. But as the value of your home appreciates, there is no immediate benefit to you in terms of cash. You will not be able to profit from the increase in value until you sell your property, and if you never sell, your estate and beneficiaries will be the only ones who are better off.

An equity release mortgage offers a way around this. These mortgages are becoming increasingly popular for homeowners aged 55 and older, as they give you a way to benefit from the equity you have built up in your home. An equity release involves a lender giving you a portion of the value of your home as a lump sum or a series of payments, in exchange for interest or …

Read More

New Green mortgage offering one of Ireland’s lowest rates

AIB’s mortgage subsidiary Haven has launched a new, four-year, fixed rate green mortgage with one of the lowest rates currently available on the market.

Haven is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AIB which focuses solely on mortgage distribution through brokers. They offer a broad selection of fixed and variable rate mortgages to customers including first time buyers, movers, switchers, and investors.

The mortgage has a rate of 2.15 percent, and applies to both new and existing customers with a Building Energy Rating (BER) of between A1 and B3. The BER cert must also be less than 10 years old in order to be eligible. All new builds are expected to qualify for the low rate, and existing customers who remodel their home to meet the BER requirements will also qualify.

According to AIB, this low rate could result in substantial savings for the average customer. The lender reports that the new rate allows customers of a 25 year, €300,000 mortgage to save €155 monthly. This equates to a savings of €1,800 per year over the lifetime of the loan, when compared …

Read More

How you can be approved for a mortgage in Ireland despite Central Bank’s rules

It’s no secret that house prices are continuing to rise in Ireland. Because of this, it is more important now than ever to maximize the amount that you are allowed to borrow. The Central Bank’s rules often do not make this process any easier, as many have criticized the Central Bank on its restrictive rules in terms of how much people are allowed to borrow. To be approved for a mortgage in Ireland, you first have to fall within the Central Bank’s income rules. Second, your lender will evaluate your repayment capacity.

First, the Central Bank restricts lenders to loans of 3.5 times the borrowers’ income (joint and single), unless they are granted an exemption. This means that someone making €40,000 can borrow up to €140,000, and a couple making €100,000 combined can borrow up to €350,000, respectively.  However, to be approved for a mortgage, they must also pass a stress test, per Central Bank rules. This tests the ability of the borrower to repay the loan each month should interest rates rise by 2 percent above what the lender …

Read More

What is the Help to Buy Incentive?

The Help to Buy incentive is a program from the Irish Government that provides relief to first time buyers of a new home or apartment. The amount of relief granted through this incentive was recently increased due to economic pressures brought on by the Covid 19 pandemic. In the July 2020 Jobs stimulus package, the Government increased the amount of relief available temporarily through 31 December 2020. With the passing of Budget 2021, this increased relief has been extended to 31 December 2021. The incentive gives a refund of income tax and Deposit Interest Retention tax (DIRT) paid in Ireland over the previous 4 years to qualifying first time buyers.

Help to Buy only applies to properties worth less than €500,000, and the home or apartment must be new or self built. To qualify for Help to Buy, you must be a first time buyer who either buys or self-builds a new residential property between 19 July 2016 and 31 December 2021. However, the Help to Buy scheme does not apply to rental or investment properties. The scheme is limited …

Read More

Spanish Bank Transforms Irish Mortgage Market

Spanish mortgage provider Avant Money has just introduced a new range of products that have the potential to transform the Irish mortgage market. Avant Money has become the first mortgage provider in Ireland to offer a 30 year, fixed rate mortgage. In this type of mortgage, the repayments will be the same every month for the entire 30 year lifetime of the loan. Avant Money’s new fixed rate mortgages have lifetimes between 15 and 30 years, and offer rates as low as 2.25 %. These new long term offerings were introduced shortly after Finance Ireland shook up the market with its innovative 20 year mortgage. These latest moves by brokers represent a huge step for the Irish market, as product offerings here are beginning to more closely resemble that of Spain and France.

Because wholesale interest rates are currently at historic lows, homeowners in Ireland are more increasingly taking out longer term fixed rate loans. Avant Money’s new portfolio of products includes 15 year, 20 year, 25 year, and 30 year fixed rate mortgages, and the rates vary based on …

Read More

4 Easy Ways to Improve your Financial Literacy

Financial literacy is one of the most important and underrated skills that anyone can have. Understanding basic financial concepts such as mortgages, inflation, and interest rates is critical for financial success. Once you unlock this knowledge, you will be better equipped to effectively manage, save, and invest money for you and your family. This knowledge, combined with other good financial habits, is the key to financial well being and freedom later on in life. While everyone has varying degrees of financial literacy, there is an overwhelming amount of resources available to expand your knowledge on financial topics.

 

Read Personal Finance Books

If you enjoy reading, there is no shortage of finance books that cover a broad variety of topics, from eliminating debt to saving for retirement. One book recommended by Forbes magazine that covers the latter is Rewirement: Rewiring The Way You Think About Retirement!, by Jaime Hopkins. This book tackles common misconceptions and bad habits that prevent people from having flexible and successful retirement plans. For a variety of books on many topics, check out Insider’s …

Read More

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 …

Read More

Types of mortgages and lending rules

Irish law has specialized sets of lending rules depending on the type of mortgage application. Types of applications are split into three different categories: first-time buyers, remortgaging or switching, and buy-to-let buyers. Depending on which of these categories an application falls under, different loan-to-value (LTV) and loan-to-income (LTI) limits will be used. The former refers to the minimum deposit a borrower must have on a home before getting a mortgage loan. The latter refers to the maximum amount of money borrowers can receive in relation to their yearly gross income; while this is normally capped at 3.5 times one’s income, lenders can provide additional allowances of varying amount depending on the type of application.

Firstly, there are first-time buyers. These applicants are those buying a house for the first time, so the deposit required by LTV limits is understandably less steep. They will need to have a minimum deposit of 10% of the home’s total value. For example, if the price of a home is listed as €250,000, a 10% deposit would amount to €25,000. Lenders are allowed to have …

Read More