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Brokers note increased difficulty in getting mortgages

TWO-thirds of mortgage brokers believe it was more difficult to get a mortgage in the first quarter of this year than in the same period last year, the Professional Insurance Brokers Association (PIBA) said yesterday.

More than 90pc of brokers say it is taking at least three months to complete a mortgage with almost one in three saying it takes longer than four months. This also marks a slight deterioration on the position six months ago, according to a survey.

The survey found that the main reasons mortgage applications were refused by lenders were attributed to job security: lenders were rejecting applicants who have not been in current employment for sufficient time or their employment was a fixed contract rather than permanent.

The new survey by the country's largest group of independent mortgage and insurance brokers said more than two-fifths of brokers estimated that between 60pc and 80pc of mortgage applications were declined by lenders in the first three months of 2011.

The corresponding figure six months ago was 55pc of brokers.

The association said that while it represented an improvement, it gave no cause for optimism.

"It marks a very slight improvement in what is a virtually stagnant property market. The absence of a normal functioning banking system is continuing to stymie any underlying demand," said Rachel Doyle, a director of PIBA Mortgage Services.

"Brokers are reporting this, along with the related concerns about the IMF/ ECB bailout, is depressing consumer sentiment."

Irish Independent