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Mortgage switching jumps ahead of banks pulling out of market

January 12, 2022


There has been a surge in the number of people switching mortgages to take advantage of better competition in the market.

The numbers approved to move their mortgage were up sharply in November when compared with the same month in 2020, the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) said.

Lower rates from non-bank lenders and the impending closure of Ulster  Bank and KBC are prompting people to move.

The numbers who have been approved by lenders to re-mortgage or switch rose by 21pc in November when compared with the same month the previous year.

The number of approved mortgage switchers has more than doubled since November 2017.

There were 7,243 approvals valued at more than €1.8bn in the year to last November.

Competition in the mortgage market is relatively strong, with ICS Mortgages, EBS, Finance Ireland and Avant Money all reducing their rates last year.

Avant Money, Finance Ireland and ICS Mortgages have fixed rates as low as 1.95pc for those with large deposits or switchers who have a lot of equity in their homes.

Switching can mean monthly savings of up to €135 for every €100,000 owed on a 25-year mortgage.

The jump in the numbers switching comes despite a fall in the overall number of mortgages approved in November 2021 – a total of 4,959 mortgages were approved.

More than half of these were for first-time buyers, the banking lobby group said.

Mover purchasers accounted for a quarter of the approvals.

The number of mortgages approved in November was up on the month, but fell by 4.6pc year on year.

The average value of first-time mortgage approval was €259,000. For switchers, the figure is €302,000.

The average switcher mortgage approval figure is €262,000.

BPFI chief executive Brian Hayes said: “Our latest mortgage figures show a slowdown in approval volumes on a year-on-year basis, but this was the highest approvals values in November since the data series began in 2011.

“Mortgage approval activity remains close to historically high levels.”

Mr Hayes added that more than 53,000 mortgages, worth €13.4bn in total, were approved in the year to last November.

Approvals do not always translate into mortgages that are drawn down.

This is because potential buyers often get outbid or have mortgage approval from a number of lenders.

This year could see higher numbers of mortgage switchers with the departure of KBC and Ulster Bank, said the managing director of mortgage platform, Martina Hennessy.

She said established homeowners were exploiting rising home values to unlock huge savings from lower interest rates.

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