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    Living in financial fear: ‘The past year my monthly mortgage payments have gone up by €559. At one point, I essentially had a two-month panic attack’

    Rising mortgage rates amid the cost-of-living crisis left writer Liadán Hynes suffering panic attacks and sleepless nights — until she found help…

     

    I have never before agonised so much over whether or not it was a good idea to write about something so personal… and I have written a book about going through a divorce, so I’m not exactly behind the door when it comes to these things. But for some reason, opening up about finances — and, more specifically, about financial problems — feels even more terrifying than writing about how to cope with your marriage disintegrating.

    I’m not alone it seems; nearly every expert I spoke to for this article immediately told me that Irish people are especially bad at speaking about finances. I’m also not alone in feeling the way I do about my financial situation. Before beginning to write, I ran the idea of this article by a friend: did she think it was wise to write in a national newspaper about this subject? She replied that she was in entirely the same situation as me and was terrified about how she was going to be able to afford some upcoming costs.

    In the end, it was Leo Varadkar who persuaded me to write this. In the weeks before the Government announced Budget 2024 last October, I read an article that quoted him talking about mortgage relief. In the tones of a chiding teacher addressing naughty children, he was admonishing people for expecting widespread mortgage relief in the Budget. His tone was reprimanding, as though he was talking to people who had somehow done something wrong. There was a lack of understanding or empathy for anyone who had seen their mortgage rise terrifyingly in the last months and might be looking for help. Or who might be struggling with static mortgage payments when everything else has risen. It pushed me over the edge and convinced me to write about my own experience of financial fear.

    I have a tracker mortgage. In the past year, my monthly mortgage payments have gone up by €559. Like everyone reading this, all my other bills have risen simultaneously. My circumstances are that I am a self-employed single parent of a nine-year-old. I work in an industry, journalism, that is slowly contracting — cuts in pay and in the amount of work available are frequent. As costs rose and the industry I work in decreased over the past year, I have never known fear like it. Changes in the Budget mean I will get a one-off tax credit for my 2023 return based on the increase in my repayments. The maximum benefit a person can get is €1,250.

    At one point last year, I essentially had a two-month panic attack. In fact, I’ll say a fear spiral, because I also started having actual panic attacks. They are a very specific thing, with their own unique intensity that, thankfully, burns out after a number of hours. However, they leave you fearful of when the next will hit; where you will be, how might your body let you down, will it be public? Worrying you’re going to bring on a panic attack by worrying you’re going to bring on a panic attack is its own unique kind of torment. It was fear like nothing I’ve ever known. So tangible as to be physically exhausting, and absolutely total; no aspect of my life felt untouched by the worry of being unable to cover basic costs.

    As I mentioned, I have been through a divorce. I remember at times thinking that the stress felt like being within the grip of a vice. But even in the eye of the storm you can have moments of reprieve: a walk with a friend or, better, a night out, can allow you a few hours off from the intensity of the situation. Financial fear, however, undermines everything, so that there is no corner of your day into which you can escape. A night off from parenting? Too costly. A break from work? You haven’t met that month’s target yet. Your mind feels scrambled, constantly running down various tunnels of fear. And yet you’re sort of frozen, unable to do anything about it. Financial fear means your horizons shut down.

    ​I should say that I am also one of the extremely lucky ones in that I have a safety net. I own my own house and, if things come to the worst, I can move to my parents’ house where my daughter and I could share their spare room. Not an outcome I think either me or my parents, in their 70s, who already provide copious amounts of free childcare would relish, but absolutely there to catch us should we need it. This is another reason why I was so cautious when it came to writing this article — fear of ‘whataboutism’.

    I’m loathe to start listing reasons as to why a home is important to my daughter and I, as though some of us have grounds for being more worthy of a safe, secure place to live in than others. As though the lack of universal housing isn’t, in fact, one of the great failures of our society.

    I don’t want to say anything remotely suggesting that I deserve a house. But I would say in the aftermath of going through a divorce, being able to provide a stable home was a huge source of comfort. It’s one everyone should have, of course.

    I know my situation is nowhere near the hardest of what other people are experiencing, and what many have suffered for long before this current cost-of-living crisis, but it strikes me that it’s beginning to feel like normal life is just becoming too expensive for many people. I’m not facing issues because I’ve splurged or spent excessively. It’s that the basics of life are becoming prohibitively expensive. I feel that if telling my story stirs change it’s worthwhile.

    For me, the fear really kicked in at the beginning of last year. Working in journalism is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. Post-divorce I had made the decision that I was going to work really hard to ensure I had meaningful, sustaining work. This career that means so much to me feeling under threat, on top of the rise of the cost of everything, especially my mortgage, was just too much. I remember coming across a diagram of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, seeing the second last rung-of-needs from the bottom (personal security, employment, resources, health, property), and thinking, “Oh yes, that’s me”, in a sort of disembodied way, as someone watching themselves from above.

    By 4pm each day I would feel utterly wrung out, barely able to keep my eyes open. Which would bring more fear; it was too early to stop working, but I was too tired to do more. My thoughts were trapped in a kind of circle, unable to do anything practical, I would just move from one worry to another. I began to question my entire life. What kind of idiot studied history and English in college, why had I not done engineering? (I alighted upon this most practical of potential skillsets, despite having had a one-off dispensation from studying any sciences for the Leaving Cert, so dreadful was I.) It felt like I was in a dead end, with absolutely no options. Like when a tape would get stuck in the recorder and shudder back and forth, unable to move forward. When you are in that kind of anxiety, your thoughts are basically your enemy. There’s no reasoning with yourself. As I learned, later, you need to get into your body, to get out of your mind.

    One especially bad day I remember looking at my daughter and thinking, “‘Well she’s healthy, she’s alive and well”. And then immediately thinking, “Jesus, that’s how low things have got, I’m giving thanks for signs of life.”

    I can’t remember much of that time. When I started working on this article, I had to ask my best friend and my boyfriend to describe to me what I was like. “Extremely distracted”, “Unable to see a way out”, “An inability to see anything but the worst possible outcomes”, were some of the things they said (that last one, a polite way of saying “Reacted with great irritation to helpful suggestions”, I think).

    I started getting the panic attacks. Sleeping became an issue; waking at 4am and lying there awake for hours a regular occurrence. When I saw an acquaintance at traffic lights on the way home from the school run one morning and realised that it was the third time I had thought, “Oh, I hope she doesn’t spot me”, because I was crying, I began to think that something might be wrong.

    For those months, I had only told two people about what was going on. My boyfriend, who lives in a different county to me, is formerly self-employed and a single parent himself. He understood the issue from the inside out. My accountant might just be the kindest accountant in the country, unless patiently dealing with clients crying down the phone is a normal part of an accountant’s service. (He assures me it is. I am doubtful.)

    You need people like this, who can be practical, aren’t scared of the problem, and can genuinely reassure you that you are not the only person to have felt like this, that there might be things you can do. Otherwise, I told no one. Shame is often mentioned as a reason why people do not talk about financial issues. I’m not sure that was it for me, I think it was more deep paralysis brought on by extreme anxiety, and self-blame. How could I have gotten myself into this situation? It wasn’t until I heard someone talking about the tracker mortgage situation say: “Sure who has an extra €500 a month in their back pocket?” that I thought “Yes! OK. Maybe this is not my fault.”

    There were other reasons. A fear of worrying the people I love. Even writing this I have the urge to add in for the benefit of my parents, should they be reading, “It’s OK, I can handle this, don’t worry.”

    A fear that my daughter, years in the future, might come across this article online and worry about her mother. Plus, it’s simply awkward to tell friends. I have friends with whom nothing is out of bounds for discussion, and yet introducing your financial concerns into the conversation seems clunky, awkward — the conversational equivalent of a leaden weight dropping to the bottom of a pond. What can they say, after all? There’s nothing they can do. And there’s the fear of pity. Or worse, when people do say something they think is helpful but, in reality, doesn’t touch the sides, and you have to smile politely as if that’s really helped, but instead feel more isolated than ever.

    Things got to the point, very slowly, where I realised I would need to seek help. I called Michael Dowling, the managing director of mortgage specialists Dowling Financial who was my broker when I bought my house. I asked him, half tentatively, fully mortified, “Was going back and renegotiating payments something people did?” “Of course,” he replied. “All the time.”

    I called my bank. They were understanding, unshocked. Links to forms and hard copies were sent out. But another stall followed. A standard financial statement is a fairly sizeable form, and I simply could not seem to bring myself to fill it out. With these matters, I take one step and then seem to falter, it feels exhausting. Perhaps, having moved things along ever so slightly, I put my head back in the sand. Sitting at my desk one day, trying to fill out the form I heard that ad from the radio about reaching out to services if you were in financial difficulties.

    There is a MABS office around the corner from where my boyfriend lived. I remember a couple of years ago asking him what that building was as we walked by, and thinking as I read the sign — Money Advice & Budgeting Service — how dire things might need to be to need to go there. How other it seemed. And now here I was.

    Back at my desk that day, I decided I would ring MABS. Now, I want everyone to know about this service, but at the time, it felt like something truly shameful that I would keep secret from everyone bar aforementioned boyfriend and tear-tolerant accountant.

    A lovely woman, we shall call Nuala, answered the phone. One of the pillars of MABS is that they are a non-judgmental advice service. Needless to say, I started crying almost immediately when Nuala began speaking in kind tones about the situation. I explained my circumstances. Who wouldn’t feel stressed in my situation, she kindly replied. More crying.

    Of course I was struggling to fill out the form, it was a dreadful form, she continued, recounting gentle anecdotes about her grandchild who was around the same age as my daughter. An understanding grandmother was the perfect antidote to the anxiety spiral in which I found myself.

    Nuala put things in train. An appointment was made. I managed to fill out a form, rather haphazardly, I thought. “Not at all,” the man I met at my MABS appointment assured me, I had done a great job (I really hadn’t, but MABS, going by my experience, are hallmarked by understanding). When they needed more information from me, an email came, gently prodding me on, not allowing me to sink back into fear-driven paralysis. A hardship fund from my energy provider was revealed; MABS looked after all of it.

    We’re still in the process with the bank, because I am slow, because I find facing financial stuff exhausting. But whereas before, I would have taken one step, then sunk back into inaction, MABS has gently dragged me into facing the situation. And while I’m not sure that there is a solution, I no longer feel as though there definitely isn’t.

    When I was writing that book about going through a divorce, I realised that the hardest part of your marriage ending is the bit before you face it. When you know deep down something terribly serious is wrong, but you haven’t yet looked it in the eye. It turns out the same can be said about finances, for me anyhow. The worst part was the frozen fear bit.

    Reaching out, speaking to people, experts, and my friends was very comforting. I forced myself to tell my best friend and her husband, and they were lovely, concerned and comforting. The mere fact of some of your closest people simply knowing the pressure you’re under was liberating in a way I didn’t realise it would be.

    Michael Dowling told me that an average tracker mortgage customer will have seen their repayments increase by €2,600 per annum since July 2022. Put that alongside the increases in transport, food, utilities, he pointed out, and clearly people are finding it hard to make ends meet. The most extreme rise in mortgage payments he has seen in the last 12 months has been €500.

    Dowling, and other financial specialists I spoke to off record, all said that they were working with clients who were still dealing with financial issues which began in the 2008 crash, slow to get help due to a reluctance to talk about these things. “They’ve kind of bottled it all in, hoped it will go away, and it never goes away,” he says. “You need to get help. Financial stress will cause sleepless nights, it will impact on your physical health, it impacts on relationships, whether it’s your partner, your children, all of whom will see the evidence of stress.

    “On the extreme end, and I mean extreme, I have lost a small number of clients to suicide, at the height of the financial crisis,” he revealed, going on to describe the “paralysis” people can experience. “You feel as if there’s no solution. You’re working hard, you’re doing your job to the best of your ability, you’re earning your income, and then towards the end of the month, you’ve no money left. You don’t want to open envelopes if you know they are from the bank, or Revenue Commissioners. I know many self-employed people will just refuse to open an envelope that has a harp on it.

    “This is not a life-or-death matter. While it might feel that way, in that you can’t get out of it, there are always solutions out there. And that’s where the most important thing is admitting that you’re in difficulty, and then going to seek advice.”

    Is it a particularly Irish thing, the reluctance to talk about financial problems? He points out that prior to the Insolvency Service of Ireland being set up in 2013, if you were declared bankrupt in Ireland, that was a 12-year process. There was a stigma here that is not the same as in other countries. “It was reduced to three years, now it’s reduced to one year. Irish people by nature don’t want to admit to anybody that they’ve suffered financial difficulties. It’s the stigma. Admitting to your neighbours.”

    Michelle O’Hara is the national spokesperson for MABS. “Amazingly, some of us probably don’t realise that our finances are closely connected with our overall wellbeing,” she says. “So being overindebted, to the extent that you feel that you are not in a position to manage it, can become a major strain on your mental health.

    “The fear element of it, that’s where all of the emotions associated with feeling almost out of control with that particular situation, can begin. It’s quite normal when you’re in that situation to experience panic, anxiety, depression and high levels of stress. People in that situation will equally feel, ‘I’m working, I’m doing what I can, Why can’t I manage this? Why is this happening to me? What did I do wrong?’” she continues, adding that guilt and shame are common.

    “There can be a feeling of isolation from everybody around them, even very close family. It’s not unusual that we would have one member of a marriage, or a relationship, come into us with their difficulties, and advise us that the other half doesn’t know about this. Because they don’t know how to tell them.”

    I describe to her the feeling that there was no part of my life that wasn’t invaded by financial fear. “We need money to survive. To keep a roof over our heads, food in our belly, heat in our homes, the lights switched on. For those reasons, you can’t easily walk away and have your mind free of the anxiety associated with feeling: ‘I simply don’t have enough money, and there will be consequences, and I am in absolute terror of those consequences.’”

    In this period of avoidance, people will get used to dealing with extreme levels of stress and anxiety, O’Hara says. “It becomes normalised. And it is not normal. You think: ‘Well I’m able to cope with this, but if I picked up the phone and talked to the creditor and I owe them €20,000, they might say ‘You have until tomorrow to pay it or else.’

    “The assumption in our minds is there will be no other discussions. But the reality is that there is always opportunity to engage with your creditor. Even if it has been an awful long time since you have engaged with them. People don’t consider the possibility of a payment plan with their creditor.”

    People coming into MABS will often expect judgment. “An awful lot of them will sit there and think: ‘That person thinks I’m awful. They’re thinking how did I get into this situation?’ ​

    “One of the things that we are in MABS is completely non-judgmental. There’s nothing we haven’t heard before,” O’Hara says, slowly and firmly. “We’re not concerned, in MABS, with how you got into this situation that brought you to our door. Our primary concern is, from today onwards, how we can bring you to a better place, financially, in terms of your future, being in a sustainable position with your finances. That’s what we’re concerned with.”

    One of the things I hadn’t expected when I went to MABS is the extent to which, if you want, it will entirely take over. Another huge form to be filled in? MABS will do it. The service will, should you desire, take over all communication with your creditor. They’ll also gently jog you along when you fall into a slump of not completing any paperwork that is necessary.

    “If you feel like you can’t engage with the creditors, you don’t need to talk to them. Give us authority, we talk to your creditors on your behalf. We’ll take over,” O’Hara says. “The phone calls probably won’t happen again. The letters probably will, but you know I’ll be getting the letter at the same time you’ll be getting the letter, I’ll be dealing with it, with you. We’ll work together. I’ll engage and negotiate directly with your creditor. It. Is. Never. Too. Late. You’re going to have to deal with this debt one way or the other. Let MABS deal with your debt with you.”

    Financial fear and the pressure it can put a person under seems to genuinely be something we don’t discuss. And the not talking makes the whole thing so much worse.

    Dowling told me of one client who had had the first proper night’s sleep in two years after speaking to him. I also don’t want to suggest that simply by making one phone call everything will tidy itself up and a neat solution will appear on the horizon. That is not the case; we live in a country where people are having to contemplate mortgage payment plans that will now extend into their pension years. But I absolutely guarantee that talking to someone will help you feel better.

    Talking to people about the difficult things is always worth it. The most common thing people said to me after my book about a marriage ending came out was: “This was like reading my life.” From my experience of writing about my own life, and from the responses I know people I interview receive when they talk honestly, you’ll find you’re never alone in your experience. It’s this kind of thing I talk about on my Substack. Like the book, it is also called How to Fall Apart, and has my podcast and columns all covering how we deal with the difficult things in life.

    Talking to MABS, you will be greeted with empathy and understanding, rather than judgment and a suggestion of censure, something I find lacking in so much of our political leadership. Breaking the secrecy and silence takes some of the intensity out of it, and the experts will help you come up with a plan. I promise you will feel better.

     

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      Completing a move to another lender is now taking up to four months due to logjam as customers rush for alternative loans. Thousands of homeowners […]

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    • Buyers struggle to get mortgages as rising prices limit loan offers

      The surge in the cost of living is making it harder for prospective homebuyers to get approval for a mortgage. Would-be borrowers have less money […]

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    • Consumer watchdog puts focus on hidden costs of cashback mortgages

      Competition and Consumer Protection Commission addresses deals that cost first-time buyers large sums of money over the lifetime of their loans. The State’s competition watchdog […]

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    • Financial pain for mortgage holders as ECB increases interest rates by 0.5%

      The European Central Bank has raised interest rates by 0.5% to combat surging inflation, which is approximately 9% across the euro area. This is the […]

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    • Michael Dowling: Irish banks to benefit from ECB rate hike

      Irish mainstream banks will benefit more than their European counterparts by higher interest rates as net interest income accounts for 80% of Irish retail banks’ […]

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    • Mortgage holders in rush to lock in fixed rates ahead of ECB increases

      Large numbers of homeowners who are exposed to interest rate rises are rushing to lock in to good-value fixed rates, it has emerged. In a […]

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    • Mortgage repayments could rise by €300 per month

      Hundreds of thousands of mortgage holders could face a hike of up to €300 a month in their repayments as interest rates begin to rise […]

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    • Mortgage borrowers should fix at truly long rates to beat ECB hikes

      Most of us cannot hedge against rises in groceries, utilities, or fuel — but there is an opportunity to cushion ourselves against rising interest rates […]

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    • Locking into fixed rate ahead of interest rate rises could save you tens of thousands

      A first-time buyer (FTB) could save tens of thousands in the first ten years of their mortgage by locking into a fixed rate mortgage ahead […]

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    • Mortgage rates in Ireland rise at highest amount in five years

      MORTGAGE interest rates in Ireland have gone up by the largest amount in almost five years. This is despite the European Central Bank holding back […]

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    • Fresh start – new proposals to treat divorced and separated couples as first-time buyers

      Divorced people will get a second chance to be home owners after a relationship breakdown under measures designed to recognise how “Ireland has changed”. Housing […]

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    • Why Ireland has limited fixed interest mortgage rates

      This newspaper has flagged the strong likelihood of the European Central Bank (ECB) increasing interest rates by the fourth quarter of 2022 with more increases […]

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    • Triple inflation shock as fuel and groceries surge in price — and home loans are set to follow suit

      Consumers have been hit with three further cost hikes as petrol and diesel hit 30-year highs and grocery prices rose again, as well as the […]

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    • ‘Psychological shock’ for Irish mortgage holders as ECB tipped to hike rates

      The potential for two interest rate increases this year will for the first time in a decade affect hundreds of thousands of Irish mortgage borrowers, […]

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    • Hard-pressed homebuyers being charged €2,000 more than Eurozone average for mortgages

      IRELAND is one of the most expensive countries in Europe for mortgages. Only Greece is dearer for new home loans in the countries that make […]

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    • Q&A: Can I get a State-backed mortgage under the new rules?

      Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has announced a newly expanded local authority home loan scheme, increasing the eligibility of those who can apply. The new regulations […]

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    • How to fix Ireland’s mortgage market

      With mortgage completions to finish 2021 at €10.5bn and set to rise to €14bn in 2023 and €17bn in 2025, one could suggest there is […]

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    • Parents gifting children €1bn from Bank of Mum and Dad fuelling house price rises

      Parents are gifting their children an estimated €1bn a year from the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’, dangerously fuelling house price inflation, a leading mortgage […]

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    • Is the Bank of Mum & Dad still in line for a tax hit?

      It’s a lender that’s been around for decades, giving low cost (mainly free) loans to its select customer base. Its financial firepower appears to have […]

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    • Is it time for the Central Bank to change its rules so house hunters have a shot?

      COULD A CHANGE TO RULES PUSH UP HOUSE PRICES? The Central Bank’s lending rules – which prevent first-time buyers from borrowing more than three-and-a-half times […]

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    • Michael Dowling: Benefits of fixing your mortgage for the very long term

      My advice for first-time buyers is to take out long-term fixed rates for 20 years or more. There is something of a revolution going on […]

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    • Mark Keenan: Spare a thought this Father’s Day for the separated dads trapped in a soul-destroying housing limbo

      A joke I’ve heard more than once from separated dads goes as follows: If two gay men get divorced in Ireland, who gets the house? […]

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    • Spanish bank to shake up mortgage market here with 30-year fixed-rate loans

      Spanish-owned mortgage provider Avant Money has upped the ante on its rivals by offering a range of new long-term fixed rates. The provider is the […]

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    • The real problem is ministers don’t actually believe there is a housing crisis

      If the Government can’t come up with a radical housing solution, the Coalition parties will find themselves redundant. It is telling that what lit a […]

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    • Calls for cashback mortgages probe before State uses money to back Ulster Bank loans sale

      The Government has placed its State-owned Permanent TSB as well as AIB, which owns the EBS mortgage lender, in the lead positions to buy large […]

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    • Irish banking sinks deeper into crisis as KBC follows Ulster out the door

      Commentators sound alarm bells as the ‘two big boys’ look set to control 70% of the Irish mortgage market The shock decision by KBC Bank, […]

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    • Michael Dowling: Banks are misleading customers with costly cashback mortgage incentives

      Irish mortgage interest rates have gone back to being the dearest in the eurozone and we need to focus on immediate changes that can be […]

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    • Broker says lenders are using wage subsidy scheme to refuse mortgages

      Lenders have been accused of using the State wage subsidy scheme to “blackball” mortgage applicants. It comes after it emerged that lenders are now turning […]

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    • Calls for cashback mortgages probe before State uses money to back Ulster Bank loans sale

      The Government will need to launch an investigation into “the exploitation” of first-time homebuyers lured by cashback incentives before it commits taxpayers’ money into State-owned […]

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    • “We nearly lost dream home because bank got jitters over wage subsidy”

      A leading bank was set to deny a couple a mortgage to buy their dream home, just as they were about to draw down the […]

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    • Mortgage lenders push back against automatic payment breaks during lockdown

      Mortgage lenders have pushed back against a call by a leading broker to re-introduce automatic payment breaks for people who will be unable to work […]

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    • Demand for mortgage exemptions expected to surge this year

      APPLICATIONS for mortgage exceptions are expected to surge to record levels in January as lenders respond to pent-up demand from borrowers. Exemptions to the strict […]

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    • Controversial equity release loans for older people are back

      An equity release provider is reopening in this market years after the banking crash closed off the availability of these loans. Equity release involves older […]

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    • Experts cautious about 2021 property market

      Property prices are predicted to take a minor dip in 2021 before recovering to current levels by the end of next year, according to two […]

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    • Borrowers here paying €2,000 more a year than European counterparts

      This was down 14 basis points on the same month last year. But the average across the euro area is less than half of this […]

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    • Ulster Bank ‘self-inflicted review will mean Irish mortgages will remain costliest in Europe’

      The uncertainty over the future of Ulster Bank is already helping the big two mortgage lenders, AIB and Bank of Ireland tighten further their grip […]

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    • Home loan limbo – the growing number of buyers struggling to get their mortgages

      Many housebuyers who’ve been directly or indirectly affected by the Covid crisis are experiencing issues with banks and accessing mortgages. Those who will struggle to […]

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    • Average Irish person now ‘worth’ €166k

      The impact of Covid-19 has been to make households wealthier while the State sunk €14bn deeper into debt, according to the Central Bank’s Quarterly Financial […]

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    • Lenders told to be upfront with mortgage applicants on impact of wage supports

      BANKS and other lenders have been told to be upfront with mortgage applicants whose employers are using the State wage subsidy scheme. It comes after […]

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    • Mortgage holders leaving thousands of euro on the table by failing to switch home loan providers – CBI research

      Some mortgages could save more than €1000 in the first year and more than €10,000 over the remaining term of the loan. Mortgage holders are […]

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    • What the loss of Ulster Bank would mean for consumers

      When news broke on Friday that NatWest, parent of Ulster Bank was considering the winding down of the Bank, the market was surprised. It had […]

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    • Your money: Seven things you must know on the new mortgage playing field

      Cheaper home loans will be up for grabs for house hunters and homeowners in the coming weeks and months following the entry of a new […]

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    • Spanish giant to rattle the cages of big firms who have Irish market cornered

      You would be forgiven for thinking that competition in the mortgage market had gone by the wayside, like many things during the pandemic. Banks are […]

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    • Interest rate war brews as new bank joins market

      A Spanish banking giant is to enter the Irish mortgage market in a move sure to put massive pressure on existing lenders to slash their […]

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    • Banks block drawdowns until end of pay subsidy

      Builders and brokers say hundreds of agreed home sales are being placed in jeopardy because of an unintended consequence of the State’s emergency wage subsidies. […]

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    • Banks have yet to heal the €60bn bailout wounds of a decade ago

      A decade after a €60bn taxpayer bailout of the country’s main banks, we still have a problem with trust when it comes to how they […]

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    • Ireland faces second mortgage arrears crisis when payment breaks end this autumn, leading financial advisers warn

      A leading debt adviser has warned that 30,000 households — or around half of the 62,480 currently on home loan payment breaks — will fail […]

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    • House prices due to fall sharply in wake of pandemic

      House prices are likely to fall sharply over the next year, a leading think tank has predicted. The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has […]

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    • Central Bank boss defends banks withdrawing mortgage offers

      Central Bank Governor Gabriel Makhlouf has defended banks that are withdrawing mortgage offers to people whose incomes are hit by the fall-out from the pandemic. […]

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    • Irish Banks Again Europe’s Worst Performer as Crashes Add Up

      Once again, Irish banks are at the sharp edge of a global crisis. In 2008, it was the melting away of liquidity. Just over a […]

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    • Mortgage borrowers hit by Covid-19 jobs slump ‘facing problems securing mortgage breaks’

      Mortgage borrowers previously in arrears but who are now up to date with their monthly payments have had difficulties in automatically accessing the three-month mortgage […]

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    • Banks add Covid-19 income conditions to mortgage offers

      Raft of assurances are sought over bonuses, overtime and future job security Several Irish banks and lenders are adding new conditions to mortgage loan offers, […]

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    • Self-employed may feel chill from Covid-19 for some time

      The self-employed face mortgage struggles. All business owners are weighing up the effect of the Covid-19 closures on their trade at present, with many trying […]

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    • House valuations are being reduced by 10pc during the mortgage process due to Covid 19 according to brokers

      Some bank valuations are lower than agreed sale prices due to Covid-19 “The valuations are coming in at less than what the agreed purchase prices […]

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    • Home truths: Covid’s duration will determine its impact on values

      Speculation about where house prices and the property market will end up in the aftermath of Covid-19 has already started, with the publication during the […]

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    • Doubts raised over Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme after lawyers warn the initiative is unworkable

      The crucial wage subsidy scheme aimed at keeping hundreds of thousands of people in jobs has been thrown into doubt after lawyers warned it was […]

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    • Those who test positive likely to struggle to get life and mortgage protection cover

      Concerns: Michael Dowling fears some people will be unable to take out life cover People who test positive for Covid-19 may struggle to get life […]

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    • How to navigate the property market during the pandemic

      These are testing times. Covid-19 has reached into every sector, including the property market, and everyone is scrambling to adapt to the challenge. For those […]

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    • State may need to ramp up spending to €34bn

      Employers’ group Ibec and trade unions have called on the Government to step up payments for workers and companies in response to the economic damage […]

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    • No hit to credit record for those who get mortgage break off bank

      A deal is being hammered out between the Central Bank and main lenders so people who avail of a Covid-19 mortgage payment break will not […]

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    • Temporary ban on all evictions is to be introduced for duration of coronavirus crisis

      The Government has confirmed that a temporary ban on evictions and rent increases will be introduced for the duration of the Coronavirus crisis. Housing Minister […]

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    • €32m debts written off by court in three days

      More than €32m in personal debt has been written off this week under insolvency arrangements approved by the High Court. The huge sum relates to […]

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    • €2m debt write-off for publican approved

      The High Court has rejected objections raised by a vulture fund to a personal insolvency arrangement (PIA) writing off €2m in debts owed by a […]

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    • Chasm between values of new and second-hand houses

      A growing chasm between the values of new and second hand homes has been highlighted by the banking sector which says loans issued to first-time […]

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    • Dublin’s cool Northside moves ahead of stuffy Southside to hold the housing hotspots

      Q Two northsiders are travelling in a car. The music is turned off and the windows are up. Who’s driving? A: The Garda. Q: How […]

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    • AIB drops fee for mortgage customers breaking out of fixed rate

      AIB is allowing some customers to break out of fixed mortgages and lock into lower ones at no cost, in a move that is likely […]

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    • Ulster Bank fined €4.6m over data on mortgages

      ULSTER Bank has been fined €4.6m by the Central Bank for failings around mortgage data it supplied to the regulator. The fine would have been […]

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    • Pressure now on more banks to cut their rates in mortgage price war

      More banks are coming under pressure to reduce their mortgage rates after market leader AIB announced a number of reductions. The focus is now on […]

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    • Mortgage holders here still paying double Euro average

      MORTGAGE rates in this country have fallen below 3pc for the first time in years. But there is scope for much deeper cuts, mortgage experts […]

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    • Revolution in fintech keeps the bankers awake at night

      Shake-up: Revolut and other fintech firms are forcing banks to increase their tech focus I was more than a little surprised at the response I […]

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    • AIB was always going to lose battle – it’s just a pity it waited so long to concede

      AIB was always on to a loser trying to defend its actions in denying 6,000 customers tracker mortgages. The bank tripped itself up and was […]

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    • The changes still needed to tackle the banks’ bad management cultures

      Regulation: Unlike the UK authority, the Central Bank of Ireland does not have competitional law enforcement powers, an issue which deserves to be reconsidered Banking […]

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    • Paul Joyce: Mortgage arrears have been ignored but not solved

      Housing, homelessness, and healthcare have justifiably dominated the election so far. But one aspect of the housing crisis, however, that has received little attention is […]

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    • Home truths: The story of Eoghan and the home hoovers

      The big view on Ireland’s property market Whenever Eoghan Murphy is asked about his unforgettable term as Minister for Housing, one of the first things […]

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    • Typical household wealth has risen to €184,900 – but renters are losing out

      The wealth of households has shot up due to rising property values. But renters have very little wealth, according to figures from the Central Statistics […]

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    • Most people unaware about credit card interest rate they are charged

      The majority of Irish credit card users are unaware of the interest rate they pay, or how it is applied. And even those who say […]

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    • Fianna Fáil may have just pressed the pause button on the property market

      The party’s new SSIA may cause a significant number of housebuyers to put their plans on hold for an unspecified period The man who is […]

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    • Court approves debt for equity swap insolvency arrangement

      Decision is first to be approved by High Court involving a debt for equity swap The High Court has approved a personal insolvency arrangement (PIA) for a […]

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    • Record €60m debt write-off for former quarry operator gets High Court approval

      A former quarry operator has had a €60m debt write-off approved by the High Court – the largest ever under personal insolvency legislation. Enda Patrick […]

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    • State-backed mortgage scheme hikes interest rates steeply despite bank cuts

      The interest rate on the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan product has been increased massively. Rates have shot up by up to 0.75pc at a […]

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    • Home truths: Big time housing promises without taxes are hollow

      What can you get for €16bn these days? Well €16bn is the total amount estimated that Irish people will spend online this year. The Consumer […]

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    • One in 10 mortgage arrears cases involve separated borrowers – BPFI

      Banking lobby group calls for State to introduce measures to help separated borrowers. About one in 10 mortgage arrears cases involve borrowers who are separated, […]

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    • In your pocket: Switching mortgage can bring major savings

      Rates are falling and lenders are keen to offer better deals – it’s easier than you think. Up to 160,000 Irish families are out of […]

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    • Mortgage interest rates dip but remain more than double euro-zone average

      Central Bank statistics show weighted average interest rates on new mortgages was 2.9% in November. Interest rates on mortgages taken by Irish consumers were lower […]

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    • New buyers pay €2,000 a year more than rest of eurozone

      RIP-OFF mortgage rates in this country are costing new home buyers €2,000 a year more than our European neighbours. New figures from the Central Bank […]

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    • Pensions deliver decade-best growth of 20.6% in 2019

      Zurich Life tops peers as funds recover from calamitous end to 2018. Irish pension funds delivered bumper returns in 2019, making it the best year for investment returns in […]

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    • Another year of dysfunction ahead for Ireland’s property market

      Looming general election and UK-EU trade talks add to uncertainty for developers. With the new year now a week old and a raft of predictions […]

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    • Responsible Homeowners Betrayed

        Thousands of responsible homeowners have been betrayed by the sale of their mortgages by PTSB into a bond fund which will be serviced by […]

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    • Revealed: Ireland’s most expensive streets and their €2m plus homes

      Daily growth of €15m in value of housing stock fuelled by new supply rather than increasing prices, writes Wayne O’Connor A leafy Dublin street sandwiched […]

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    • Value of residential property in Ireland up by 5.3bn euro in last 12 months

      SEVEN HUNDRED AND fifteen properties worth €1 million or more have been sold in Ireland so far this year, according to the latest Wealth Report from […]

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