I wrote about this last week, here, and it got a great response with some detailed and thought out comments. Liam Ferguson, who I mentioned in my original post, directed me towards a discussion that was ongoing at the time on the AskAboutMoney.com website on the same topic.
Two comments struck me from what was being said there (one also referred to by a comment on my post):
I was however, shocked and disappointed to read some of the comments from those that feel that I should not get out of my fixed rate mortgage. You are all certainly entitled to your opinion but sadly there was a nasty whiff of Irish begrudgery laced through many of those posts. There is even a smugness about many of the comments suggesting that I deserve the pain that my fixed rate mortgage brings upon me. Some even boast about the prized position of their own mortgage arrangement. Enough said.
And the response:
What pain? Your repayments are the same as they were when you took out the mortgage. Are you telling us that you took out a mortgage you couldn’t actually afford to pay???
Stop whinging. If you want a variable rate, go refinance and fulfil any financial obligations you have to extrecate yourself from yor fixed rate.
There are too many people suffering genuine distress at the moment to worry about your simple case of regret.
There seems, however, to be a growing campaign to do something for these people who took out fixed rate mortgages in the last couple of years. I’m told that the Ray D’Arcy Show on TodayFM is covering this, though I haven’t heard any of it.
This article from the Irish Examiner on Thursday refers to that, and also support for the relief of fixed rate mortgage holders expressed by Dermott Jewell of the Consumers Association of Ireland:
However, calling for the policy to be scrapped in light of serious financial difficulties being felt by bank customers, the Consumers’ Association of Ireland and opposition politicians have called for the banking sector to introduce “some leeway” for customers struggling to cut back on their mortgage expenses.
“We acknowledge that contracts are contracts and that terms and conditions apply, but what we are saying is that these are trying times and the one people who have been helped during this period are the banks,” said association chief executive Dermott Jewell.
“Those penalties — that’s what they are — are very high, they are significant and they need to be acknowledged as such,” he said.
I appreciate that these are “extraordinary times”, but I also have difficulties with these proposals to let people off with their financial commitments – I think the second quoted comment above just about says it all – people on fixed rate mortgages are paying the same as a couple of years ago in a time when other costs of living are falling.