A new mortgage initiative has been launched by Ulster Bank which offers customers protection against falling house prices as uncertainties remain in the housing market.

The new 'Secure Step Mortgage' gives customers access to the housing market with a five-year protection against falling housing prices.

It offers customers a mortgage of up to 95% of the purchase price of a house and a guarantee that protects them against decreases in the value of their home of up to 15% of the original purchase price after a five year period.

When a customer draws down their mortgage from Ulster Bank, the developer who built the house will place an amount equal to 15% of the purchase price on deposit with the bank. After five years, Ulster Bank will arrange an independent revaluation of the property to see if the value has risen or fallen.

If the property has decreased in value, the funds the developer has on deposit are refunded to the customer in the form of a reduction in their mortgage, up to 15% of the original purchase price. If the property value increases or stays the same, no refund will occur.

As at last Friday, the Secure Step scheme includes developers with homes for sale in Kinsale, Killarney, Kildare, Dundalk, Ashbourne, Laytown, Bettystown, Dun Laoghaire, Ballsbridge and Rathoath. The product can not be used for one bedroom or studio apartments and can only be used for residential property.