You’re likely to encounter a lot of complicated terms before you enter the mortgage market, and it’s easy to get lost in all the talking about APRCs, LTVs, etc.

In case you’re getting ready to apply for a mortgage but don’t know where to begin when it comes to interest rates, this guide can be your one-stop shop.

Interest rates can be classified into three categories in this guide. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type, which you can read about here. There are three types of mortgage rates: variable rate, fixed rate, and split rate (a hybrid between the first two). To choose the right rate, you’ll need to understand a few terms within each type.


What is the mortgage rate?

A mortgage rate refers to the percentage of interest that a borrower pays on a mortgage loan. It is the cost of borrowing money to purchase a home and typically remains fixed for a specified period or may be adjustable based on market conditions. Mortgage rates are influenced by various factors, including the overall economy, inflation, the lender’s cost of funds, and the borrower’s creditworthiness.

What are the different types of mortgage interest rate?

When it comes to mortgage interest rates, borrowers can choose between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). Fixed-rate mortgages offer stable, unchanging interest rates, providing predictability for monthly payments over the loan term. In contrast, adjustable-rate mortgages feature interest rates that can fluctuate after an initial fixed period, potentially leading to varied monthly payments. Each type offers distinct advantages and considerations, and borrowers should carefully evaluate their financial goals and risk tolerance when selecting a mortgage.

Variable rates

Variable rates refer to interest rates that are not fixed and can fluctuate over time based on changes in the broader financial market. In the context of mortgages or loans, variable interest rates mean that the interest rate on the loan can go up or down in response to various factors, such as changes in the central bank’s base lending rate, economic conditions, or the lender’s internal policies.


For borrowers, this means that monthly repayments can also fluctuate, potentially leading to changes in the total cost of the loan over its lifetime. While variable rates can offer the potential for savings if interest rates decrease, they also bring the risk of increased costs if rates rise.

It’s important for borrowers to carefully consider their financial circumstances and risk tolerance when choosing between variable and fixed interest rates, as well as to stay informed about potential rate changes and their potential impact on loan repayments.

Fixed rates

Fixed rates refer to interest rates that remain constant for a specified period, typically ranging from a few years to a decade, regardless of changes in the broader financial market. In the context of mortgages or loans, choosing a fixed interest rate means that the borrower’s monthly repayments remain predictable and stable over the fixed period.

This provides borrowers with the certainty of knowing exactly how much they need to pay each month, which can be helpful for budgeting and long-term financial planning. It also protects borrowers from potential increases in interest rates during the fixed period, offering peace of mind and protection from fluctuations in the market.

While fixed rates offer stability, they may initially be higher than variable rates, and borrowers may miss out on potential savings if interest rates decrease during the fixed period. It’s important for borrowers to carefully consider their financial goals and market conditions when deciding between fixed and variable interest rates.

Split rates

In the context of mortgages, split rates refer to a loan structure that combines both fixed and variable interest rates. This allows borrowers to allocate a portion of their loan to a fixed interest rate and another portion to a variable rate.

By doing so, borrowers can enjoy the stability and predictability of fixed rates for part of their loan while also benefiting from the potential advantages of variable rates for the remaining portion. This hybrid approach provides borrowers with a degree of flexibility and risk management, as it can offer some protection against interest rate fluctuations while also allowing them to benefit if rates decrease.

It’s essential for borrowers to carefully review the terms and conditions of split-rate mortgages, as well as to consider their financial circumstances and risk tolerance to determine whether this type of mortgage suits their needs effectively.

Follow-on rate

Currently, none of the lenders on the Irish market offer follow-on rates any more. Follow-on rates are set as a fixed percentage or margin above the European Central Bank (ECB) rate and, depending on this variable rate, the rate of the follow-on mortgage also varies.
If you opt out of a tracker rate, it is unlikely that you will be able to return to it. If you are approaching the end of a fixed period and you believe you have the right to return to a tracker rate, it is advisable to check this with your lender.

Discounted rate

This is a temporary rate, usually for 12 months, set below the standard variable rate. It is usually offered as an incentive for new customers and reduces the amount you pay in your first year. At the end of the discount period, you’ll revert to the standard variable rate or move to a fixed rate, if that’s what you choose. If you’re thinking of taking out a mortgage on a discounted rate, always compare the rate the lender will offer after the discount period with other rates on the market. The discount rate may be lower, but the follow-on rate may be higher than what other lenders are offering.

Capped rate

This refers to setting a maximum or upper limit on the variable rate during a specific period. In this scenario, the capped rate can increase up to a certain limit, but not exceed it. For example, a variable rate cap could be set at 6 per cent, allowing the variable rate to reach this level but not exceed it. It’s worth noting that this modality is not widely found on the Irish market.

Understanding mortgage interest rates in Ireland

Understanding mortgage interest rates in Ireland is crucial for prospective homebuyers. In Ireland, mortgage interest rates can be fixed or variable. Fixed rates remain constant for a specified period, offering stability and predictability in repayments. On the other hand, variable rates fluctuate in response to market conditions, potentially leading to savings or increased costs over time.

It’s essential to consider the differences between the Annual Percentage Rate of Charge (APRC) and the actual interest rate. The APRC reflects the total cost of the mortgage, including interest, fees, and charges, allowing borrowers to compare different mortgage offers effectively.

Additionally, factors such as loan-to-value ratio, credit history, and the choice of lender can impact the interest rate offered. Before making a decision, thorough research and consultation with financial advisors are recommended to ensure a clear understanding of mortgage interest rates in Ireland and their implications for long-term financial commitments.



How does an interest rate work on a mortgage?

An interest rate on a mortgage is the cost of borrowing money to purchase a home. It is expressed as a percentage and determines the amount of interest borrowers will pay over the life of the loan. A lower interest rate means lower monthly payments and less interest paid over time, while a higher interest rate results in higher monthly payments and more interest paid.

What is the formula for interest rate?

The formula for calculating interest rate is:

  • Interest Rate = (Interest / Principal) * 100


  • Interest is the amount of interest paid
  • A principal is the initial amount of the loan or investment
  • This formula provides the interest rate as a percentage of the principal.

What is a good rate on a mortgage?

A good rate on a mortgage can vary based on current market conditions, the borrower’s financial profile, and the type of mortgage being sought. As of recent data, a good mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage is generally considered to be around 3% to 4%, while for a 15-year fixed mortgage, it is typically around 2.5% to 3.5%. However, these rates can fluctuate and what’s considered a good rate also depends on individual financial circumstances.

How do you calculate monthly interest?

To calculate monthly interest on a loan or investment, you can use the following formula:

  • Monthly Interest = (Principal x Interest Rate x Time Period) / 12


A principal is the initial amount of the loan or investment

  • Interest Rate is the annual interest rate
  • A period is the time frame in months
  • This formula provides the amount of interest that accrues every month.

Sum up

Understanding mortgage interest rates in Ireland is crucial for anyone considering homeownership or seeking to refinance. In Ireland, borrowers can choose between fixed-rate and variable-rate mortgages, each carrying its own set of considerations and implications. It’s important to carefully evaluate the current market conditions, individual financial circumstances, and long-term objectives before committing to a specific mortgage product. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of mortgage interest rates and their impact on monthly payments and overall loan costs, individuals can make well-informed decisions that align with their financial goals in the Irish housing market.