Mortgage costs down

Claire Murphy

NEW figures have shown that the affordability of homes for first-time buyers has more than doubled in the past three years.

Figures from the latest quarterly EBS/DKM Affordability Index show the average first time buyer working couple is paying 12.6pc of their joint income to service their mortgage compared with 26pc three years ago.

This equates to average monthly mortgage repayments for a first-time buying couple of €644 in April 2010 as opposed to €1,323 which a couple would have paid in December 2006.

With house prices now back to 2002 levels and interest rates remaining low, affordability will continue to improve for potential first-time buyers.

The EBS/DKM Affordability Index, which is tracked on a monthly basis, measures the proportion of after tax income required to meet first year mortgage repayments for an 'average' first-time buyer working couple, each on average earnings with a 90pc mortgage.

It takes into account mortgage rates, changes in the level of mortgage interest relief, and is based on average earnings and average first-time buyer new house prices nationally and in Dublin.

"The continuing improvement in affordability levels is very positive for first-time buyers and seems to be encouraging activity from this segment," said Dara Deering, Director of Membership Business at EBS.