Changes to EU mortgages could help foreign property owners

15 February 2005
Europe's €4 trillion (£2.75 trillion) mortgage market could be overhauled this year by the European Union (EU) in an effort to make it easier for consumers to save money on international home loans.

Charlie McCreevy, the internal market commissioner, outlined the plans on Sunday night, stating that he would be acting on 48 measures suggested last year by financial experts as ways of opening up the mortgage market.

Only one per cent of the European mortgage market is currently cross-border or international, a type of mortgage usually needed by those buying foreign property.

In an interview with the Guardian, Mr McCreevy said the financial forum group wants the national laws on mortgage credit and deed contracts to be brought into line along with those on consumer protection. Some want APRs and early repayment fees to be standardised.

Mr McCreevy also said that he would amend or get rid of regulations stifling economic growth and impose at least a year-long freeze on new legislation.

"This €4 trillion market, the stock of outstanding loans, accounts for 40 per cent of EU GDP and, if we can open it up, it would be of immense benefit for consumers by bringing more innovation in the sector, coming up with better and better - and cheaper - products," Mr McCreevy stated.

With the new measures, Mr McCreevy and the forum group intend to inspire consumer confidence in cross-border mortgages.

To find out more about purchasing foreign property, click here.
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