The average interest rate on new mortgages was 3.38% in November, which is almost double the equivalent euro zone rate of 1.72%.

However, new figures from the Central Bank also show the Irish rate has fallen by 0.28% over the past year.

In the year to the end of September 2016 variable mortgage rates dropped by 49 basis points to 3.47%, while fixed rate mortgages fell by 23 basis points over the same timeframe.

Variable rate mortgages accounted for two thirds of all new agreements here over the past 12 months, while there has been €4.9 billion in new home loans during the same period.

€373m worth of mortgage loans were renegotiated in November, with variable rate mortgages accounting for the majority of renegotiations.

The average interest rate for renegotiated mortgages during the month was 3.05%.

PIBA, the country's largest group of financial brokers, said consumers here taking out mortgages continue to pay over-the-top.

The organisation's Chief Operations Officer Rachel McGovern said the high rates point to "the lack of competition in the Irish market.

"Lenders have absolutely no rational reason whatever to treat Irish consumers differently to their European counterparts."

Ms McGovern added that unless interest rates here "were brought much closer to the European norm, once interest rates begin to rise again, it will become much more difficult to achieve anything close to parity".