Irish mortgage holders continue to pay significantly lower interest on their loans than the Euro area average.

New figures from the Central Bank show the weighted average borrowing cost for house purchase in Ireland is 3%, compared with a euro zone average of 3.49%.

The very high level of "tracker" loans and other variable rate mortgages in Ireland accounts for this lower average interest rate.

Long term fixed rate mortgages are the norm in most of Europe and the US.

Irish banks say they lose money on tracker mortgages, which represent about two thirds of all mortgage lending.

However, the Central Bank also notes that despite the very large level of tracker mortgages, the average cost of mortgage loans in Ireland has gone up by 14 basis points over the last nine months, while the average cost for the Euro area as a whole has fallen by 23 basis points.

During that time, the ECB main interest rate had remained unchanged at 0.75%.

This reflects moves by Irish banks to charge more on their standard variable rate and fixed rate mortgages to try and compensate for the losses suffered on the tracker loans.

This is clear in the case of new mortgage lending. New home loans here cost more than the Euro area average.

New home loans In Ireland either variable or fixed for one year cost 3.16%, compared with the euro zone average of 2.86%.

Today's figures also show the weighted average of loans to non-financial businesses were also lower in Ireland - at 3% - than the Euro Area average of 3.3%.