L&E poised to launch into Irish mortgage market

London & European is on the cusp of launching into the Irish market in anticipation of a boom in remortgaging activity across the Irish Sea.

Last week, the title insurance and conveyancing firm un-veiled plans to launch op-erations in the Republic of Ireland, where it aims to gain an edge by offering its services more cheaply and quickly than those presently available there.

The Irish mortgage market is worth €40bn (£27bn) a year, but loan growth is decelerating and transactions fell by 20% bet-ween Q1 2006 and Q1 2007.

Remortgages account for 16% of all mortgages in Ireland, compared with 50% in the UK, and the average life cycle of a mortgage in Ireland is seven years compared with three years in the UK.

But with competition hotting up as more lenders enter the Irish market, L&E anticipates the remortgage market will grow rapidly as people realise the potential cost savings of switching products.

The company hopes to cash in on the anticipated remortgage drive in the country by offering lenders and borrowers a completion process up to 70% faster and 50% cheaper than that currently available by using technology.

The traditional remortgage conveyancing model in Ireland requires an external solicitor and takes up to three weeks at a cost of €1,100 (£740). L&E’s model cuts out external solicitors, takes between seven and 10 days and costs €950 (£639).

Christopher Taylor, chief executive of L&E, says: “The average life of a mortgage in Ireland is seven years. One of the factors contributing to this is the complexity and cost of the Irish conveyancing process.

“Making that process faster and cheaper will help facilitate the ex-pansion of the remortgage market in Ireland.”