Banks don’t care about property prices

O.k. I lied, they care, but when it comes to new lending (and the secular trend that has already started in Irish lending rates) the underlying prices is of secondary concern as long at the loan (which is the banks asset) is performing.

There is a disconnect between the way that consumers think of property and the way that financial institutions think of it, the consumer thinks of price, the financial thinks of long term loan value. They are two different things, take the example below

Property price: €200,000 Loan (90%): €180,000 Term: 30yrs Rate: 3%

Total Cost of Credit: €273,199 Credit Cost: €93,199

The bank have a buffer in terms of the quality of the underlying asset, but that isn’t of concern, as long as the loan is performing it will be valued at €180,000 (or whatever the balance is), which is why the lenders are instead going for a different approach. Values have dropped to the point where they believe that we are somewhere near the bottom, not there yet …

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Why does a state owned bank subsidise depositors?

There is concept in finance of a ‘risk free rate’, and normally that is seen as being the rate of return on money by a sovereign entity (in our case it’s Ireland), so in a rational market it should always be the case that anything with an implicit state guarantee should pay far less than those without it, because those without it have to reward investors by offering more in order to attract them.

Oddly, in Ireland the institutions implicitly backed by the state are actually paying over the odds, and in effect that means a transfer is occurring from tax-payer to depositor, in short, we are being ripped off when our sovereign guarantee is not factored into pricing.

For example: Anglo Irish Bank are paying 3.1% for a demand account, this means you can take your money out whenever you want, BOI, AIB, INBS, NIB and many others are paying a mere 0.1% meaning that Anglo are paying a full 300 basis points or 3% more than competitors who …

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Primetime 2nd February 2010: Mortgage Market Focus

Primetime took a look at the mortgage market situation in Ireland on the 2nd of February, they spoke to various industry experts as well as people on the street about their feelings on the situation. The clips below are well worth watching.

In this clip Primetime spoke to people on the street, and the general opinion was one of empathy for borrowers in trouble but the overall tone was that people didn’t necessarily want to step in and have their tax money going to bail them out. Then David Murphy interviews an anonymous borrower who is in debt trouble, as well as getting the opinion of Irish Mortgage Brokers Operations Manager Karl Deeter and Paul Joyce of the Free Legal Aid Centre (FLAC).

In the second video Pat Farrell of the IBF (Irish Bankers Federation), Stephen Kinsella (Lecturer of economics at University Limerick, and author of ‘Ireland in 2050), Pauline Blackwell of FLAC (free legal advice centre) and Ciaran Cuffe of the Green Party talk to Miriam O’Callaghan about the issues of debt and the solutions for solving …

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Property prices may fall, but finance prices won’t

Unless you are a cash buyer it isn’t a good idea to focus on property as a single cost, in a transaction there are two costs, that of the asset and then that of the finance for the asset purchase. I have done a few comparisons on costs where in two years time where a property has fallen a further 20% from where it is today.

As we expect margins on lending to rise considerably we have factored that in, along with moderate base rate increases. What we have done here is to take a view that prices may have fallen 40% from the peak to now, but they will fall a further 10% p.a. for the next two years, a further 20% from today or over 50% from the peak.

Purchase in 2010 €200,000 90% mortgage over 25yrs [€180,000] @ 4.5% [10yr fixed] base rate 1% margin c.3.5% repayment per month: €1,000 total cost: €300,000 balance after yr. 10: €130,785 Total Interest Paid by year 10: €70,845 …

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Where are interest rates headed?

While we often see opinions about interest rates given by various commentators, I think the most telling indication is often that of the market, the point at which rates are settling at in prices is available at any time by looking at the Euribor Yield Curve, below is the chart for today.

The idea that rates will probably stay c. 1% until well into 2010 is only partially priced in, you can see the yield curve crossing the 1% mark at 6 months (which would be May 2010) – this however, is the Euribor and does have margin factored in, currently the margin over ECB is c. 25 basis points so the 1% base would cross when the graph above is at c. 1.25%. and that is the part that brings us to the latter half of 2010. The yield curve is live and dynamic so it could change at any time, either flattening or inverting. The reasoning behind where interest rates are going is a science in itself, and one that …

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How a bank might undo your tracker mortgage

‘I have a tracker mortgage so I don’t care’ a man recently said to me when I was talking about the near definite increase in margins that we will start to see in mortgages as lenders seek margin and reprice risk.

It was almost said in a smug manner, a kind of ‘yeah, times are hard but I have my tracker mortgage’, and then it struck me, most banks have a get out clause, they don’t have to use it, but they might. So I thought it might be interesting to point out exactly how this could come about, and essentially the relationship it has with falling property values, so if your lender ever calls you out of the blue asking you to let a valuer into your gaff be sure to say ‘no’.

The way that trackers could be wholesale removed from borrowers is via an up to date valuation where the tracker rate is connected to the loan to value (LTV) of the property, many tracker mortgages only …

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Fixed rate price increases likely

We are going to look at the Euribor yield curve today considering its moves from 20th of June against two dates in August with a view to deciphering what it means for rates in the Irish residential mortgage market.

First of all we see that the June vs August lines on the 11th showed a drop in short term rates, this would normally imply an increase in liquidity (generally) as well as a lack of inflation expectation until circa the 2yr mark at which point the blue euribor line trends higher. We would take it that the expectation is for low rates to prevail for the next year then rise to about the 1.5-2+% range.

The prices changed from June to August and the implication is that sentiment changed from low short term rates to rising longer term rates to depressed short term rates and much higher longer term rates. This is a goldilocks scenario for the banks because they will be able to justify and earn large margins on the short …

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‘Fix or forever hold your tongue!’, A floor on Rates (with a rise likely!)

Rates likely to rise as per AIB’s statement, and PTsbs actions, what we are trying to tell everybody, in clear English is this: ‘If you don’t have a price guarantee on your mortgage via a tracker or fixed rate agreement then you will be paying greater margin over ECB in the near future than you are now’. If you don’t act upon that information then it is your own decision but you can’t say you weren’t forewarned.

Forewarning doesn’t stop disaster, the historical evidence on that is overwhelming, in particular in the military arena, today however, we will look at some of the potential changes we might see in the market.

Floor Rate: This would be a variable agreement whereby the rate will never dip below a certain level. For instance, a bank might say that in a low rate environment it will (in the future) never allow its variable rate to drop below 4%, …

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Understanding why mortgage rates MUST rise.

We have been saying for some time that interest rates on mortgages must rise, you can look at supply and demand, or you can look at the types of products that have ceased to exist such as tracker mortgages (removing fixed margin loan products) and then there is the proliferation of variable LTV products which set the stage for the ability to manipulate margin on more loans. The question is ‘what all of this means’, and the purpose of this post is to explain how deposits, business lending and mortgages are all interconnected parts of the banking system and how margins are set based upon them.

Last week PTsb finally came out and said that they were considering an

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