Mortgage affordability worsened in the first half of 2013, as the Government removed mortgage-interest tax relief for first-time buyers, the latest affordability index by lender EBS and economic consultants DKM shows.
A single first-time buyer on average earnings who buys a house at the national average price typically spent 27.9 per cent of their net income on their mortgage repayments in May this year, up from 23.6 per cent in December 2012.
A couple both earning the average industrial wage will typically have spent 13.9 per cent of their combined net income on their mortgage, up from 11.8 per cent at the end of last year. For a Dublin couple, this figure rises to 16.9 per cent, up from 14.1 per cent at the end of last year.
However, average first-time buyers will still be paying less than half of what they would have paid on monthly mortgage repayments in December 2006. This is due largely to the collapse in housing prices.
The average loan drawn down by homebuyers getting into the property market for the first time was €150,292 in the first three months of the year – a drop of 40.3 per cent on the €251,000 figure in the same period in 2008.
Annette Hughes, director at DKM Economic Consultants, said housing affordability would remain “relatively stable” during the rest of 2013. “Recently, a cautious optimism has been gaining momentum that the Irish property market has turned a corner in certain parts of the country,” she added.
Despite the removal of mortgage interest relief at the end of last year, first-time buyers continue to be the main drivers of the mortgage market, accounting for 63 per cent of the number of new loans.