Aug 5th 2021

ICS cuts mortgage rates to match or better lowest in market

Lender looking to grow its home loan market share as KBC and Ulster Bank exit Republic

Dominic Coyle Irish Times 

Mortgage lender ICS is cutting the interest it charges across all its variable and fixed rate products. The new rates, which come into force from Monday, will in most cases equal or better the most competitive rates available.

ICS’s move comes as aspiring homebuyers’ mortgage options narrow with the planned departure of Ulster Bank and KBC – both of which had among the most competitive rates available – from the market.

The Dilosk-owned lender is cutting up to half a percentage point off its headline interest rates.

Homeowners looking for an 80 per cent home loan can secure a 2.2 per cent fixed rate over three or five years. That matches the best rates on the market, apart from AIB subsidiary Haven, which offers a slightly lower 2.15 per cent rate for homes with a building energy rated of B3 or better.

For people with equity in their property, who are looking to switch, ICS will offer a market leading three- or five-year rate of 2.1 per cent at 70 per cent loan to value (LTV) or, at 60 per cent LTV, a rate of 1.95 per cent that is matched only by Avant, the Spanish lender.

Avant deals only with borrowers in certain parts of the State where ICS says its rate apply nationwide.

First-time buyers

The lender is not chasing first-time buyers as assiduously. Its three-year fixed rate pitched at first-time buyers looking to borrow 90 per cent of the value of their home will be 2.35 per cent while it will offer a 2.5 per cent rate on a five-year fix.

But Haven is offering 2.15 per cent over four years and AIB has a 2.25 per cent rate over five.

On variable rates, ICS will offer loans at 2.45 per cent where the LTV is under 70 per cent and 2.7 per cent above that threshold. At present, according to price comparison website, ICS offers the most competitive rate for LTV of 60 per cent or less at 2.7 per cent. The next best is AIB which will now be a full half percentage point more expensive.

The 2.7 per cent variable rate at 80 and 90 per cent LTV borrowings compares with market leading rates of 2.95 and 3.15 per cent.

“Buying a house is the single biggest financial decision most people will make in their lifetime,” said Ray McMahon, chief commercial officer at ICS Mortgages. “In recent years, however, Irish homebuyers have been offered a shrinking pool of options for how they fund such an essential purchase.”

He said ICS was looking to significantly grow its share of the Irish mortgage market.

“Favourable international financial market conditions enable us to now offer new residential customers reduced monthly repayments, putting money back into the pockets of homebuyers and mortgage switchers up and down the country,” he said.

The rates apply to all new residential mortgage customers. People who have secured loan approval from ICS but have not yet drawn down the funds are advised to contact the lender or their broker.

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