The Irish border has been a hot topic of conversation for over two years – where has that time gone? The 310 mile-stretch has been at the centre of European politics more so than ever as we wait to hear our fate and the impact it will have on Ireland north and south. After recent talks in Brussels, there is still no Brexit deal. Both sides want an exit agreement, but they can’t settle on one key point: the Irish border. They cannot agree on whether the border-free and open between NI (which will be non-EU) and the Republic (which will still be in the EU).
What does this mean? Well, the whole thing could be prolonged as the UK has a 21-month transition period when things can carry on as normal. Which gives anyone who is considering a cross-border mortgage more time to weigh up your options.
It is an unsure time to consider a mortgage across the Irish border, as despite two years of talks and negotiations, no one seems to know what will happen in the coming months or years. Some might be hesitant to take the leap and buy across the border, but there could be a few hidden benefits too.
Waiting too long could mean you face stiff competition from people suddenly moving from the UK to the Republic following Brexit. You never know, the demand for accommodation in the Republic may soon resemble the high waiting lists seen recently for Irish passports.
Sorting out a mortgage across the Irish border has become more difficult, with the EU Mortgage Credit Directive being brought into Irish law.
The directive includes new regulations for a ‘foreign currency loan’, which involve a currency other than the one in which the applicant receives their income, or other than that of the state where they are a resident.
These new rules saw a number of lenders back out of offering these types of loans altogether.
“When I said I earn sterling it was immediate – ‘no we don’t accept that’. I asked what they meant, I’m a resident in Ireland,” Jennie Peoples told The Journal earlier this year.
“They didn’t even ask what my husband does. She added that if I lived in Spain and was paid in Euro I could get a mortgage. I didn’t even argue back, I was just confused.”
It does seem however that Permanent TSB and KBC are the only banks to refuse mortgages in other currencies, while other banks are more open to the idea.
Despite over two years of talks, no one actually knows what is going to happen when the UK closes it’s doors to the EU.
Teresa May has insisted that the EU’s plans to keep the whole island of Ireland within a ‘common regulatory area’ is unworkable, but there seems to be no clear alternative proposed by the British government.
Irish officials standing firm against a hard border, with the backing of EU MEPs and Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, who has said in the past that the UK must resolve the Irish border before agreeing on withdrawal terms with the EU.
The good news is that both sides agree there can’t be a ‘hard border’, or any physical checks such as cameras or customs posts between NI and the Republic. The UK and EU have already signed a pledge there will be a ‘backstop’, which means a last resort plan to keep the Irish border open no matter what happens – deal or no deal.
All of this leaves the Irish border in a very insecure position. A hard border with substantial infrastructure and checks is still possible, while financial and legal agreements between the EU and the UK after Brexit may have a serious impact on cross-border mortgages.
Will a deal be agreed on at the next summit in December or will we have to wait another while before knowing our fate? Time will tell.
Make Mortgage Payments Easy with Money Exchange
Enough doom and gloom though.
If you do decide to set up a mortgage across the border, or are still making payments off your house, Money Exchange can make the entire process much easier.
We take the hassle out of making cross-border mortgage payments by looking after the details for you.