The Last Word on TodayFM features Irish Mortgage Brokers, 30/04/2020

We were part of a discussion around Covid19 and mortgages on Matt Cooper’s ‘The Last Word’ show on Today FM yesterday. The other participant was Brian Hayes of the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland.

For our part we were impressed with the fact that the banks have been able to do more than 2,000 mortgage restructures per working day since the pandemic driven mortgage breaks were announced. To put that in perspective, it took six years to do 100,000 restructures after the financial crisis. This time around that figure could be achieved in a little over two months, that is something to be commended.

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Remove the lending limits to aid economic recovery? They’re considering it in New Zealand.

The Royal Bank of New Zealand (their central bank) is considering the removal of the lending limits – similar to our own – because it’s a countercyclical tool that is no longer needed.

“More recently we have proposed removing mortgage loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restrictions, as this is a countercyclical tool and we have been able to consider lowering this now that the risks of excessive lending have subsided and banks can now lean into a recovery. This should also enable banks to support customer needs”

That spells it out fairly loud and clear, if the tool isn’t needed then why deploy it? At the moment we are seeing massive issues with sales due to banks restricting in order to comply with the lending rules, this is an unforeseen consequence that will damage certain borrowers who have entered into contracts in good faith.

It’s worth noting that we took our lead in part from New Zealand on the lending rules, our new Governor is from there and house prices in New Zealand are also high – …

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Help To Buy For First Time Buyers

The name provides a definition for itself. First time home buyers are people in the market buying a home for the first time. Compared to other home buyers, such as trader-up borrowers and mortgage switchers, first time buyers have different benefits and restrictions when borrowing than other borrowers. The Central Bank of Ireland requires a 10% down payment for first time buyers. Now, for first time buyers, a 45,000 euro down payment for a 450,000 euro home may be somewhat daunting. However, the Central Bank has offered assistance for their first time buyers to keep them in the market. The Central Bank offers a help to buy program. This benefit allows for first time buyers of new houses and apartments to take a 5% tax rebate off of properties less than 500,000 euros. In a recent case at Irish Mortgage Brokers, a married couple came looking for a mortgage on their first home. The couple did not have a home in mind at the time, but based on their income, the couple had roughly below 500k to spend. Both individuals …

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Tracker Mortgage Scandal

A tracker mortgage is a mortgage that has its rate tied to the European Central Bank rate. AIB and other banks looked to force people as many people as it could off of loss-making mortgages. After the market crash in 2008, it became expensive for many banks to borrow. The banks hurt themselves a lot with bad lending practices before the market crash. Once the market did crash, many of the mortgages were actually costing the banks money.

Instead of taking the financial burden, many of the banks looked to be sneaky. They looked to push people off of the mortgages in questionable ways.  The Irish Times estimate that scandal costs have surpassed 1.5 billion Euro.

What is even more crazy is that financial services knew about the banks being suspect. Many people went to court and lost. However, it is believed that many of the banks had a voice on these committees.

PTSB and Springboard Mortgages were the first two banks caught in the scandal. It is estimated that 1,400 people had their loans mismanaged by both companies. Some …

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Safety Nets for Consumers in Mortgage Arrears

According to The Central Bank of Ireland, at the end of June 2019, there were 723,280 private residential (PDH) mortgage accounts for principal dwellings held. Of this, 61,901 accounts still had outstanding payments, also referred to as being in arrears. as of June, there were a total of 61,901 total accounts in arrears. Within that, over 18,000 were within 90 days overdue, almost 5,000 were up to 180 days overdue and a staggering 27,792 accounts were over 720 days overdue. However, at the end of the quarter only 1,407 homes were repossessed. So what protections do homeowners have when they are in arrears? In Ireland there are many codes and acts that are specifically designed to protect the family home from repossession.

The main code that deals with family homes, is the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA) which was put into place in 2013. The code is issued by the Central bank and relates to customers in arrears and pre-arrears situation. It does not however deal with investment properties. This code requires mortgage lenders to apply the Mortgage …

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Mortgage Switching is More Common than Central Bank States

Competition between mortgage providers has increased dramatically over the past couple of years. People are switching more frequently than every before trying to find the best mortgage rate for themselves. Over the last three years, the percentage of mortgage holders prepared to switch providers has doubled according to a banking sector report. Additionally, these figures are higher than what the official figures from the Central Bank are. Also, the Irish Banking & Payments Federation (IBPF) marks the rate of switching at over 15% which compares to the slightly more than 1% rate that the Central Bank has pit forward.

The federation suggests that the much lower calculations from the Central Bank could have a negative effect on how willing consumers are to search around for value. The IBPF notes the difference in numbers is caused by the Central Bank using the number of mortgages being switched as a percentage of total outstanding private dwelling house credit. IBPF stated, “This gives rise to a figure of less than 1 per cent for the current level of mortgage-switching activity” and “Crucially, this …

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Inflation Rates Return to Normal

 

The current housing prices in Dublin have been talked about extensively recently. The newest trend shows that housing prices have reached peak affordability and now some of the wealthy classes of people are having trouble affording homes. Current house prices in Dublin are more than nine times the average salary making them unattainable for the majority of people because mortgages can only be 3.5 times your salary. Additionally, these numbers have not been seen since the Celtic Tiger Era, however, the central bank has been more careful this time and increased borrowing rules unlike during the Celtic Tiger Era. Prices are now beginning to slow down because simply nobody is able to afford them.

Inflation has also cooled off recently with a decrease from 12.4% last May to 2.8% a year later. Dublin has seen a significantly smaller inflation rate with an increase of prices from the current year to May of .6%.

The region of Dublin had the highest median price of 366,000 Euros which is just over 9 times more than its average salary of 40,000 Euros. …

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Institutional Investors not to Blame

Institutional investors have commonly been credited with causing the rise in property prices. However, stockbroker Davy, claims otherwise and says they are not to blame. The report by Davy credits the inflation in house prices to be caused by the Bank of Ireland’s strict mortgage-lending rules. The pressure on the housing market has caused many people to become interested in the rental market causing pressure there too and a 7% rise in rentals.

Institutional investment has been rising exponentially in Ireland. It has grown in sales to a total of 1.1 billion Euros in 2018 up 200 million Euros from the previous year. These figures may seem high, but only account for 30% of total property investments in 2018 and do not have a big enough impact on the market to make a tremendous impact. Additionally, most of those investment occurred in Dublin where the top 25 transactions account for 2,370 units worth 954 million Euros in 2018.

Davy analyst Conall Mac Coille commented, “People have, however, confused the chicken with the egg,” and “Institutional investors have been attracted here …

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MyHome.ie Report Broken Down

Dublin’s housing market is showing a trend that has not been seen since 2013 and is not consistent with the rest of Ireland. MyHome.ie concluded that the annual asking price inflation has declined 2.4% nationally in the 2nd quarter of 2019. The annual asking price inflation is at its lowest level in five years. When solely concentrating on Dublin, they fell .6 % which marked the first time Dublin has been negative since 2013 with respect to asking price inflation. Asking prices are continually growing, but at smaller rates than historically. Nationally asking prices increase by 2.1% in the 2nd quarter this year. Dublin’s asking prices grew slimly at .5% which marks the weakest 2nd quarter gain since 2013.

The report also found that the median asking prices for new sales grew by 5,000 euros to 276,000 euros and Dublin grew by 2,000 to 382,000 euros. Experts use newly-listed properties as a reliable indicator into predicting future price movements. Conall MacCoille who authored the report and is the chief economist at Davy, commented on falling prices causing much fear towards …

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Central Bank warns of a financial stability threat due to cuckoo funds

Cuckoo funds or offshore venture funds in Ireland’s commercial property is causing apartments to be bought up by the big businesses that make up the cuckoo funds. The increasing dominance of offshore investment in Irish commercial property is causing risks that they will also import a boom bust cycle. According to research from the Central Bank, the threat is also that house prices will fall and the banks will be weakened.

Warnings have been definably seen as two of the biggest property investors in recent years look to sell a large portion of their office blocks. The Central Bank continues to explain that foreign financed funds are more vulnerable to negative shocks outside of Ireland. In other words, foreign investors are not as concerned with the Irish economy as they are concerned with the general economy and their investments. Foreign investors are not concerned with the health of the Irish economy and could potentially get rid of all Irish assets to pursue easy profits elsewhere.

Although there is high risk associated with cuckoo funds and foreign investors, these investments are …

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