Two major mortgage lenders have already reached the limit of how many exemptions to the Central Bank’s mortgage rules they are allowed to offer in a year.
Lenders are allowed to offer more than the strict rules of 3.5 times income and allow less than 20% in a proportion of their loans over a year. It means PTSB and KBC can no longer offer borrowers the mortgage exemptions that allow for loans over the threshold.
Banks and other lenders have the freedom to lend a certain amount above these limits. In any one calendar year they can give an allowance of up to 5% of the value of mortgages to first-time buyers and up to 20% of the value of mortgages to second and subsequent buyers, and up to 10% of the value of mortgages to buy-to-let buyers.
Both lenders Permanent TSB and KBC, which recently announced it was leaving the Irish market, have used up the exemptions from the rule limiting the amount they can borrow relative to their incomes.
Many first-time buyers need an exemption to the loan-to-income rule, especially in cities where property prices are higher.
PTSB and KBC’s ending of exemptions comes as the Central Bank said it was holding ‘listening and engagement events’ next month as part of a review of the lending limits. The review will look at the effectiveness of rules and whether they have achieved their aims.
Association of Irish Mortgage Advisors chairman Trevor Grant said yesterday: ‘While this might seem like a blow to first-time buyers, we are advising people not to be disheartened; there are still a number of lenders offering exemptions, and this cycle will correct itself later in the year.
‘It does, however, highlight the importance of the mortgage application process itself and of ensuring that all the boxes are ticked when it comes to approaching a lender for approval.
‘When trying to secure a mortgage, it is imperative that applicants know exactly what lenders are looking for and how to present their particular case to them.’
Mortgage brokers have been flooded with calls from worried first-time mortgage applicants hoping to secure a home-loan.
Joey Sheahan, of MyMortgages.ie, said: ‘Our advice to all has been not to panic.
‘There are still four banks open to exemptions for first-time buyers – Haven, ICS, Finance Ireland, Ulster Bank – while PTSB has not closed off the option for second-plus-time-buyers. We are however, suggesting to those who are mortgage ready, not to delay.
The mortgage market is in a state of flux, as we have seen over the last few months with news of lenders leaving.
‘There has been good news too – most recently from Finance Ireland in relation to its longterm fixed rates.
‘All in all, there are still several banks very much open to new business, so those looking for a mortgage should continue as planned – a very many will be successful.