Business Property & Mortgages

Sunday 21 January 2018

Movers with equity outbidding first-time buyers for houses

First-time buyers were forced to borrow more, with the average new buyer obtaining a mortgage for 79pc. Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images
First-time buyers were forced to borrow more, with the average new buyer obtaining a mortgage for 79pc. Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

People moving house have built up a large amount of equity in their homes, ensuring they can often outbid first-time buyers, new research indicates.

And movers tend to have bigger incomes as they are further on in their careers.

The falling number of homeowners still in negative equity are usually unable to move.

The recovery in house prices means the average mover borrowed just 66pc of the house value last year, said the Central Bank.

First-time buyers were forced to borrow more, with the average new buyer obtaining a mortgage for 79pc of the value of their property.

The figures were collected before the Central Bank changed its rules on the size of deposit first-time buyers need to have to receive a mortgage.

From this year they can get a mortgage with a deposit of just 10pc, while the Government's Help to Buy scheme became operational at the start of the year.

The new figures emerged as fears were raised that the Government's help-to-buy plan, which provides tax rebates for up to €20,000 for first-time buyers purchasing new homes, could be scrapped.

Fine Gael leadership frontrunner Leo Varadkar risks causing further chaos in the housing market after pledging to abolish the scheme if it proves to be inflating prices.

Read more: Millennials would be able to afford a home 'if they stopped buying avocado on toast'

Estate agents claimed prices could further rise in the short term as first-time buyers scramble to buy properties amid fears the grant will be abolished, with concerns also expressed that builders could postpone developing new homes until there is certainty over its future.

The Central Bank figures also show that both movers and new buyers are obtaining mortgages while staying within the income limits set by the Central Bank.

Regulatory rules allow both kinds of borrowers to receive approval for up to three-and-a-half times their income.

In the second half of last year the average first-time buyer used an average of 2.9 times their household income to secure a mortgage.

Average second and subsequent borrowers obtained funds using a multiple of 2.4 times household income, indicating they are not as financially stretched as new buyers when taking out a new mortgage.

Loan sizes were close to €200,000 on new mortgages for all borrower types in the second half of last year.

First-time buyers borrowed an average amount of €190,000 in the half-year period.

Movers borrowed an average of €220,000. The average income of first-time buyers was €68,000, with movers having an income of €106,000 on average.

Read more: Country's average rent rises by €134 a month - and is now at an 'all-time high'

This means the average gross income of all borrowers was €83,000.

The Central Bank study, Household Credit Market Report, found that all households continued to reduce their overall debts, but borrowing remained high here compared with the rest of the European Union.

Irish households are the fourth most indebted, behind Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. Debt per head is calculated at €30,199. Household debt levels have now fallen every quarter since a peak of €204bn in 2008.

Meanwhile, the majority of people believe that the Government is not doing enough to tackle rising rents and homelessness, a Red C poll carried out on behalf of the Simon Communities found.

Irish Independent

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