New home buyers hit hard as repayments soak up 33pc of pay
FIRST-time house buyers are in danger of being priced out of the market, spending almost one-third of their income paying off the mortgage.
They are now spending €1,335 on average on mortgage repayments, but this could rise to €1,505 because of rising rates, and house price inflation, according to research by EBS Building Society and DK Economic Consultants.
The new research shows that average net monthly repayments for first-time buyer couples in Dublin are a much higher €1,700.
Interest rates are due to rise tomorrow with an expected hike of between 0.25pc and 0.50pc.
A 0.5pc increase would add €56 to the monthly repayments on an average €200,000 mortgage.
Jitters about interest rates helped send share values crashing by €3.7bn on the Dublin stock market yesterday as investors scrambled to lighten their exposure to company shares.
Mounting concerns about US inflation figures and growing uncertainty on interest rates were among the main factors in the slump.
The stubbornly high oil price has also undermined investor confidence and jolted company shares.
In the past month alone, the Dublin market has fallen by close on 9pc, wiping out all the gain been built up this year to date.
Further rates rises are expected in the autumn.
That could push the standard variable mortgage rate up to 4.55pc by the end of the year.
Ahead of the expected interest rate rise, more than half of first-time buyers are already being forced to cut back on spending on lifestyle items like socialising and luxury goods.
Half of those buying a home for the first time also find themselves spending more on fitting out the house than they intended, the research confirms.
Economist Annette Hughes of DK Consultants said house prices and interest rates were combining to push first-time buyers out of the market.
House prices could rise as much as 10pc this year.
"We are approaching the peak of affordability. I would be worried about affordability.
"The current level of house price rises is not sustainable."
The average first-time buyer is now seeing 27.23pc or €1,335 a month of their income go on mortgage repayments, up from 23pc in 2000, according to the new EBS/DKM Affordability Index. In Dublin, 32pc of net income, or €1,678 a month, is being used to service home loans for new buyers.
However, the compilers of the index have predicted that by the end of this year, first-time buyers nationally will end up using 30pc of their income, or €1,407 a month, to pay down for their home loan.
Dublin-based first-time buyers could end up paying 35pc of their income or €1,866 on their home loan.
Trends over the past 10 years show a major deterioration in housing affordability for first-time buyers.
Since 1996, house prices have increased threefold nationally and almost fourfold in the Dublin region.
With mortgage interest rates now on an upward path and further increases likely, the new index also demonstrates the adverse impact of net mortgage repayments.
Ms Hughes added: "While the amount of any individual rate increase may not impact significantly on borrowers, combined increases in mortgage rates over the next 18 months could have a significant impact on housing affordability."
It is expected that 47,000 first-time buyers will take out a mortgage this year with the average price nationally at €292,000 and €388,000 in Dublin. New buyers are expected to collectively shell out €8.5bn this year.