Householders can weather the storm of rising utility bills and living expenses by reviewing their home loans and claiming tax refunds in 2022.
Doing both could be worth €5,000 to the average Irish household – 50 times the planned €100 State subsidy to help with increased energy bills, according to according to mortgage expert, Martina Hennessy.
“Spending time in the short term reviewing some big-ticket outgoings can pay massive dividends long term,” said Ms Hennessy, who cited figures from Banking Payments Federation Ireland, showing the highest annualised level of mortgage switcher approvals on record in 2021.
“Householders have been hit hard by rising utility costs and the general cost of living. However, switching your mortgage and claiming allowable tax expenses are two things a household can easily do to soften the blow.
“Switching activity grew considerably in 2021, with September seeing the highest annualised level on record. As consumers become more aware of the recent downward shift in mortgage interest rates, many are looking to capitalise on the strong loan to values in the current market.”
The Managing Director of doddl.ie, noted that the most recent mortgage switching index from doddl.ie (based on the average mortgage drawn down for new lending in both the first-time buyer and second-hand mover markets as at Q4 2021, which was €263,984), showed that homeowners are needlessly handing over up to €4,258 in extra mortgage repayments per year by not switching lenders.
“The spread between the highest and lowest interest rates available on the market has now grown to 2.55%, meaning a saving of up to €135 per month for every €100,000 owed on a 25-year mortgage for those who switch,” says Ms Hennessy.
“Latest figures from the Central Statistics Office also show house price increases of 13.5% in 2021. While this is a harsh reality for those looking to purchase a property, it does mean that there is an opportunity for existing homeowners to revisit their mortgage balance relative to their value and unlock lower rates as lenders tier their rates by loan to value.
“With fixed rates as low as 1.95%, now could be a good time to fix and lock in mortgage repayments for a set amount as the cost of living in general increases.”
Ms Hennessy said applying for tax refunds is another great way to put money back in your pocket, with relief available for those working from home.
“When people take the time to claim their entitlements, the average refund for a customer is €1,076 according to Taxback.com,” she said.
“With thousands of Irish employees now working remotely you could be eligible to claim tax relief on the expenses you incur while working from home such as heating, electricity and broadband.
“Reliefs are also available for various medical and dental costs, couples in the first year of marriage and for flat-rate expenses depending on your profession.”