Thursday 17 January 2019

Central Bank forced into embarrassing climbdown after giving wrong figures for mortgage rates

  

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Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

The Central Bank has been forced into an embarrassing climbdown after issuing incorrect figures for mortgage rates.

The figures show homeowners continue to pay more than the typical cost for a mortgage in other eurozone countries.

New figures from the Central Bank show home buyers paid an average interest rate on new mortgages agreed in October of 3.06pc, compared with an EU average of 1.77pc.

The regulator had originally put out a figure of 3.14pc for the average new mortgage rate in October.

When questioned by this newspaper it admitted its error. "That figure is incorrect and will be corrected. It should be 3.06pc instead of 3.14pc," the Central Bank said.

The average interest rate in September was 3.08pc, which means that rates have actually gone down slightly.

Last month, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi blamed a "quasi-monopoly" among banks here for the high rates. Bank of Ireland and AIB dominate the market.

A typical new buyer is paying almost €157 more each month compared with the average in the eurozone, according to price comparison site Bonkers.ie.

The figures come as it emerged Fianna Fáil met Central Bank officials to discuss ways to tighten rules for variable mortgage interest rates as part of a new Confidence and Supply deal with Fine Gael.

Irish Independent

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