Sunday 25 September 2016

'Mortgage rates have been cut, but you have to contact some lenders'

Published 09/10/2015 | 02:30

Customers need to take the initiative and contact their bank to benefit from lower rates
Customers need to take the initiative and contact their bank to benefit from lower rates

Some banks have cut their mortgage rates for existing customers, but you may not benefit from the reductions if you do not act.

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Customers of AIB and EBS are sitting pretty and do not need to do anything. AIB cut its standard variable rate from the start of this month, the third reduction in 10 months. The variable rate has come down by 0.25pc. This will reduce the repayments on a €200,000 mortgage by about €300 a year.

AIB is also offering free current account maintenance and transaction fees for new mortgage customers.

The new deal is available for new customers immediately, and for existing mortgage customers from next month.

Ulster Bank has announced a series of cuts, as has Permanent TSB.

But customers need to take the initiative and contact the bank to benefit from these new lower rates.

The reductions will benefit those with equity in their homes. In other words, those with a low loan to value (LTV). The lower the LTV, the lower the rate.

Ulster Bank customers with a LTV of between 60pc and 80pc can now get a rate of 3.7pc. This compares with 3.9pc previously.

Those with a LTV of less than 60pc - they have a mortgage which is less than 60pc of the value of the property - can now get a rate of 3.5pc.

Ulster Bank said this reduction could be worth close to €200 a year for a €100,000 mortgage.

Also being introduced by Ulster Bank is a new market-leading 3.2pc three-year fixed rate. To get this, a new or established homeowner must be borrowing at least €250,000, have an 80pc or lower loan to value, and open an Ulster Bank current account.

Permanent TSB has written to 70,000 customers telling them about its new managed variable rates.

Again, you need to act to avail of these rates, and again, those with low levels of debt relative to their property's value will be the big winners.

Reductions of as low as 0.8pc are on offer, but only for those with small mortgages relative to the value of the home.

The so-called managed variable rates (MVRs) being offered to customers depend on the amount owed and the value of the property.

The less owed as a percentage of the home value, the better the interest rate the bank will offer. Customers with a LTV of 50pc or less will be offered a rate of 3.7pc.

The rate rises to 4.3pc for LTV of 90pc or more.

So, the worst you can get is 4.3pc, which is better than Permanent TSB's variable rate of 4.5pc.

On the face of it, any customers offered the MVR will benefit.

Mortgage customers have to contact the bank by responding to the letter.

Worth noting is the fact that the bank will cover the cost of a new valuation for the property. This means customers can find out what rate they are eligible for and get an up-to-date valuation for free.

As it does not cost the customer anything to get the house valued it is well worth your while applying and seeing what the bank offers.

Bank of Ireland is offering rates as low as 3.6pc for those prepared to fix, and if their property is worth at least 40pc more than they have borrowed.

For existing customers of KBC Bank the news is not so good.

It has cut its rates for new customers, but not for existing ones. This means new customers with LTVs of less than 60pc can get rates as low as 3.4pc, compared with 4.3pc for existing customers.

Customers of both KBC and Bank of Ireland would be wise to consider switching to the likes of AIB.

KBC has cut its rates for new customers, but not for existing ones. Customers would be wise to consider switching to the likes of AIB.

Irish Independent

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