August 4, 2023
Action must be taken to address mortgage misery as interest rates spike – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, has called for the introduction of temporary and targeted mortgage interest relief to support households struggling with the sharp and sudden spike in interest rates.

The Donegal TD warned that many mortgage holders are facing interest rates as high as 10 percent and risk falling into arrears and financial distress.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:

“In the past year the ECB raised its key interest rate nine times.

“As a result, hundreds of thousands of households have seen a massive increase in their mortgage interest costs.

“This is a massive income shock for households.

“The Central Bank estimates that one in five households will see their annual mortgage costs spiral by more than €5,700 as a result of these rate hikes.

“With two in five seeing their annual mortgage costs rise by more than €3,000.

“For so many workers and families, the spike in interest costs is too much to bear as they deal with a wider cost-of-living crisis.

“Households who had their mortgage loans sold to vulture funds without their consent, but with the support of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, are now facing interest rates as high as 10 percent.

“As vulture funds send another letter in the post informing them of another interest rate hike, many risk being pushed over the edge and into arrears.

“The Minister for Finance cannot stand idly by.

“Sinn Féin have called for the introduction of temporary and targeted mortgage interest relief, providing support to households with 30 percent of their increased interest costs.

“But it is clear that wider action is required.

“Banks should never have sold the mortgage loans of customers to vulture funds without their consent.

“This was something that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister Donohoe supported, with dire consequences for households.

“The Central Bank and retail banks must act to free households from the clutches of vulture funds.

“They have a moral obligation to provide a clear pathway for these borrowers to re-enter the mainstream mortgage market.

“For borrowers who have no option to fix their rates and are paying higher mortgage repayments than they would be if their loans were held by retail banks.

“It is time to right this wrong and for the Minister for Finance to convene a meeting with the Central Bank and retail banks and chart a way forward.”

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