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All mortgage rates to rise at same time

CONSUMERS will no longer be able to "cherry pick" lower mortgages rates, a top financial expert said today.

Oliver Gilvarry of Dolmen stockbrokers said lending institutions are to "move at pretty much the same time" when applying expected mortgage rate hikes.

"So the ability to cherry pick to a lower mortgage rate won't be there at all," he added.

Mr Gilvarry pointed out that many borrowers never even received the full benefit of the interest rate reductions from the European Central Bank (ECB).

"We can see with the foreign-owned banks here that have been operating mortgages -- a number of them never passed on a lot of the rate cuts that were given through from the ECB last year, so you don't have that option either," he said.

It emerged today that almost 70,000 Permanent TSB mortgage customers face a rate hike of as much as 0.5pc over the coming weeks -- adding €15 a month to average monthly repayments.

The bank already added 0.5pc to its standard variable rate last July, bringing it to 3.19pc.

Other banks, including AIB and Bank of Ireland, were thought to have been preparing to hike their rates at the time but held back following criticism of Permanent TSB.

Kevin Murphy, head of the bank's parent group, Irish Life & Permanent, indicated last November that the lender would be looking at its interest rates again in January.

It is believed the hike is now on the verge of being implemented.

The bank's remaining 120,000 home borrowers, who have either fixed-rate or tracker mortgages, which move in line with ECB rates, will not be affected by the move.

Earlier this month, Karl Deeter of Irish Mortgage Brokers warned lenders will push up standard variable rates by as much as 1pc this year, and another 0.5pc next year.

comurphy@herald.ie