RTE 1: Claire Byrne Live features Irish Mortgage Brokers, 17th September 2018

We took part in a panel discussion about the ‘take back the city’ campaign. While we are in favour of solutions to housing shortages, taxing dereliction and land, we are not in favour of taking people’s property. This has to be balanced against why property rights were established in this country and we also questioned why they went after private property rather than the abundant and abandoned state owned property which includes council owned homes that are not being used.

Read More

Alternative Reason for the Rise in Home Prices

As we track the Irish mortgage market, the soaring prices are blamed much on the shortage in supply alongside a growing demand.

The law of supply and demand dictate much of what happens in the economy and the many financial phenomena in which are seen.

This, being a large reason as to why the supply and demand law is being blamed for much of what is happening in the Irish housing market today.

To do an analysis on what actually caused the flawed market that there is today, it is important to study the market as it was in 2006. The market boom before the bust.

In 2006, home construction was at peak levels, with nearly 90,000 homes built. With a population of just around four million, that is an impressive number for home production to occur.

This, however, is where the law of supply and demand began to become of question.

As homes were on the rise and an increase in supply was seen, prices continued to rise as well. The opposite of what the supply and demand law …

Read More

Irish Independent feature Irish Mortgage Brokers

We were asked for comment on housing recently by the Irish Independent and had this to say on social housing: Karl Deeter, of Irish Mortgage Brokers, suggests that sites be released for social and affordable housing schemes, or private homes, in return for equity. Developers would have little cause for complaint.

“On a vacant site (in Dublin city centre), you could build an eight-storey building with 75pc of the building rented at 20pc below market, and for the rest you have a guaranteed upward-only rent review of 2pc a year,” he says. “If we do it on a build to sell, or build to rent, we share the profits..

“We need to flood the land market. People want to talk about the law of the jungle, but you can’t be a lion, and when a rhino comes along you complain.

The general view in our opinion is that much of the malaise always comes back to the base element of housing which is land.

Read More

Is a ten year fixed rate a good idea?

Recently KBC introduced a 10 year fixed rate, they are not the first back to have done this, in the past other banks had them but their prices were high, the difference today is that you can get a 10 year fixed rate mortgage for below 3% and that means it’s worth considering.

First of all, why would you want to fix for so long? Obviously the longevity of a guaranteed price in a world where rates are expected to rise over time makes it attractive. This has to be balanced against the likelihood of competitive forces driving down Irish mortgage rates. Currently there is upside down pricing where fixed rates are cheaper than variable rates, how long this will last is anybody’s guess.

What we can do is look at the yield curve in order to get an idea of when rates might go up. Looking at that curve today (the quote date is from the 22nd which is last Friday) we see that yields are still negative a full six years into the future.  What …

Read More

Non-credit fuelled booms

There has been an ongoing narrative that the last housing boom (and many others) was only possible due to excessive credit. We have argued for a long time that this is a mistaken interpretation. While credit can make a bad situation worse, just like adding fuel to a flame, it is not the genesis of the problem.

We were pleased to see this view articulated by the Central Bank Governor Philip Lane recently. He stated that “cash buyers of property are limiting the ability of the Central Bank to control house prices through mortgage lending rules” he “singled out cash buyers as one of the key drivers of inflation in the Irish property market. Cash buyers used to account for about 25 per cent of house purchases in Ireland, but since the crash and ensuing credit crunch this figure has risen to 60 per cent“.

This is a point we have been making for years, firstly was that first time buyers are not, and have not been the problem. That was part of why we were specifically …

Read More

Discussing pay-gaps in the Sunday Independent

One of the most infuriating things a person could hear is that they are not being paid on par with another person who has the same qualifications and who does the same job. This is why we have to be so careful about declaring the accuracy of pay-gaps when examining statistics.

Karl Deeter laid out the statistical issues in this are in the Sunday Independent this week and showed that for a myriad of reasons women can appear to be paid less than men but that in part it’s due to how we collect the statistics rather than due to any undercutting of earnings by women based on their gender.

The extract it starts with is below, the full article is in the link at the end of the extract.

Logically, if it was cheaper to hire women than men you would never hire men as the savings would be too great, unless a business values misogyny over capital. I say that not as an objective analyst, but as a business owner who values capital. Paying a person less for …

Read More

Bank of England raises counter-cyclical capital buffer to 0.5%

Bank of England announced to lenders that it is raising the country’s counter-cyclical capital buffer from 0 to 0.5% to mitigate pressures from increasing consumer credit. The counter-cyclical capital buffer is a requirement on all banks, lenders and investment firms to keep a certain level of capital when credit growth is excessive. To a certain extent, this buffer is able to insulate banks from the cyclical growth and downturns of the economy. Bank of England’s decision reflects its interests in slowing down credit and lending in the British economy.

 

By raising the counter-cyclical capital buffer to 0.5%, British banks must increase their held capital by over £11.4 billion over the next 18 months. The Bank of England also has the intentions of further increasing the buffer by 0.5% to 1% by the end of 2017 to combat increases in consumer credit and lending. The counter-cyclical buffer has only been used once in the UK, but was quickly revoked due to stagnate economy conditions during the immediate aftermath of Brexit.

 

Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee warned that there …

Read More

How Do American Mortgages Work? Part 10: How does Western European Mortgages Compare

Relating this series to the Western European mortgage market, as fixed-rate mortgages are most common among America while variable-rate mortgages are the most common in Western Europe. This is because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac insure their mortgages. This means it does not affect the lenders if the interest rate rises on a fixed-rate mortgage. It is so, because the mortgage market in the United States relies more on the secondary mortgage market than on formal government guarantees. Comparing home ownership rates between the United States and Western Europe, they are fairly similar but higher default rate in the United States. Mortgage loans are mostly non-recourse debt where the borrower is not personally liable in the United States.

With Ireland’s typical interest rate being higher compared to other Western European countries, theorist claim it was from the popularity of Tracker mortgages. Tracker mortgages being locked in at 1% higher than the European Central Bank (ECB) Rate, when the ECB rate hit 0% lenders were contractually obligated to have the borrowers’ interest rate at 1%. Since the lenders need to make …

Read More

How Do American Mortgages Work? Part 9: The Financial Crisis

What caused the Housing Bubble in the United States during the early 200s? Experts’ continuous debate on what the root of the cause is but Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have less to do with it than you think. Fannie and Freddie backed about half of all the home-loan originations in 2002 but a new market for mortgage-backed securities were arising. Loan originators backed by Wall Street were straying away from selling the loans to Fannie and Freddie but creating their own mortgage backed securities with high-risk subprime mortgages. These would include something called a hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages with balloon payments which are nearly impossible to sustain without refinancing. It left Fannie and Freddie only backing up around 30% of the loans in 2005 and 2006.

The big players of Wall Street like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns would package the subprime loans into securities. The credit-rating agency would then rate them falsely-high so they can sell to investors who were unaware of the actual health of the security. Everyone saw how the housing prices were rising and didn’t see …

Read More