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Minister wants insurance plan for new home buyers homes

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Liam Twomey: addressed GPs. Photo: Tom Burke

Liam Twomey: addressed GPs. Photo: Tom Burke

Liam Twomey: addressed GPs. Photo: Tom Burke

Finance Minister Michael Noonan is pushing for an insurance scheme for new home buyers, but warned that there can be no return to a boom-bust property cycle.

His comments came as new figures showed a strong rise in the number of new mortgages drawn down by house and apartment buyers.

Figures from all the banks show that 6,300 mortgages, with a value of €1.1bn, were drawn down in the July to September period.

Yesterday, Finance Minister Michael Noonan revealed that he has asked the Oireachtas Finance Committee to look at a plan to have new buyers buy insurance with a mortgage. This would allow them to borrow more than 80pc of the value of the property.

"I have written to Dr Liam Twomey, chairman of the finance committee on the Dail, and I have asked his committee to examine the possibility of insurance for mortgages which would allow mortgages to go significantly beyond 80pc."

Speaking to the Irish Independent, he stressed that the regulators had made no firm decision yet on the proposal."

Deposits

Last week Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan hinted that there could be an easing of the rules on large deposits. If buyers were to take out insurance, covering the possibility of default, this might mean most could get a mortgage with a 10pc deposit, he suggested.

The numbers of home loans that have been issued to home buyers is up 50pc on the same period last year. And the level of draw-downs is at its highest level in four years, according to new figures from the Banking and Payments Federation, the lobby group for the banks.

The average first-time buyer took out a loan of €166,500.

First-time buyers represent 52pc of all mortgages issued, the figures indicate.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank was accused of misleading home buyers, and the 320,000 existing homeowners on variable rate mortgages. The bank issued statistics claiming that new buyers were taking out mortgages at an average rate of 3.47pc, up 0.25pc since the end of August.

But founder of the Askaboutmoney.com website Brendan Burgess said the figure was wrong, as it included interest rates on new mortgages and tracker rates on old mortgages that have been restructured.

"Bizarrely, the Central Bank is claiming that the rate has increased over the last month. While the true interest rate is far higher than the rate reported by the Central Bank, no lender has increased their rates for new business since June of this year."

The Central Bank said it compiled its statistics in line with European Central Bank rules. But it will begin issuing new statistics next year that will not include old tracker rates.

Irish Independent