Affordability Tradeoffs – Food for Thought

“Virtually anything can be made more affordable in isolation, simply by transferring resources to it from elsewhere in the economy” -Thomas Sowell (American economist and social theorist)

Three of the primary things Bernie Sanders, an American presidential candidate, is trying to make more affordable are housing college, health insurance. Has anybody stopped to ask, what will happen to the economy three steps down the line if his policies were to be enacted? Thomas Sowell believes that transferring extensive resources from other activities to subsidize an exorbitant luxury makes the country poorer as a whole.

Medicare for all is estimated to cost between 2.8-3.2 trillion U.S. dollars per year. This is an exorbitant luxury. Housing for all is estimated to cost 2.5 trillion dollars. This is an exorbitant luxury. College for All would cost 70 billion per year from the state and national governments per year. This doesn’t mention his cancel all student debt plan (student debt in the united states is currently 1.6 trillion dollars. This is an exorbitant luxury.

Bernie Sanders’ plan fails to recognize tradeoffs and opportunity costs. Price …

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The Rise of Income Inequality in the United States

When a candidate like Bernie Sanders promises free health care and free education, many Americans have jumped at the idea of voting for him. Why? Many Americans feel something radical must happen in order to turn wealth inequality around. Here are 3 Trends in wealth inequality in the United States.

Income inequality in the United States has followed a U-shaped trend since 1913. The low-point in the wealth inequality graph occurs right around 1980. This shows that income equality was its lowest at that point than it was in the last hundred years. Most of the growth in the top 10% and top 1% can be attributed to the growth of the top 0.1%. The top 0.1%’s share of wealth has risen from 7% in the late 1970s to 22% in 2012 (most recent data available). The rise of the top 1%’s concentration of taxable income rises dramatically at the time of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 This change reflects changes in tax avoidance rather than in the distribution of true economic value

2.  The wealth share of the bottom 90% …

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Housing Update and the Coronavirus

At the beginning of the year, Glenveagh Property, an Irish home building company, had shares increase by over 2%. The shares rose due to an increase in house sales and company revenue in 2019. The company achieved these increases because they had significant sales of homes for first-time buyers, where there still remains a high demand. Glenveagh Property reports the company generated revenues of €284 million, which presents an 240% increase from 2019 to 2020. In addition, the company had a 200% increase in homes built from 2019 to 2020, stating the company built 844 new homes. Finally, the company reports that they have reduced its risk in its 2020 construction targets. 

While Glenveagh Property’s positive report for the year of 2019 and hopeful outlook for 2020 are optimistic signs, the housing market may continue to grow with an improvement of the Coronavirus. On Tuesday, 11 February 2020, Zhong Nanshan, the head of China’s National Health Commission team investigating the Coronavirus, stated in an interview that the infectious virus may be over in April of 2020. Nanshan said the disease …

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The Derivatives That Sunk Banks In The Global Crisis

Mortgage-backed securities played a significant role in the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. These securities had attractive interest rates and were given next to perfect ratings by credit rating agencies such as Moodys and Standard and Poor. Large amounts of funding were put into the housing market through the mortgage backed securities and this funding became a cycle. People were looking to buy homes so mortgage companies sold mortgages to banks, which led to banks packaging the mortgages with other investments, and the mortgage-backed securities were sold to investors. The investors’ money created more money for mortgage lenders to offer. 

Since lenders were contributing funds to subprime mortgages, people who have lower credit scores, many of these homeowners began to default on their mortgage payments. In April of 2007, New Century, a U.S. Financial Mortgage Corporation, filed for bankruptcy because of poor mortgage lending decisions. Soon after, Countrywide, the largest U.S. subprime mortgage lender, filed for bankruptcy. Following these two mortgage lenders filing for bankruptcy, U.S. banks’ balance sheets decreased.

While subprime mortgages and mortgage back securities were instruments that …

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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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Public and private sector pay gap shrinks

The pay gap between workers in the public and private sector has always been significant, especially in Ireland. This divide is not common in many other countries in the European Union, which is why Irish government officials and economists have been extremely diligent in tracking the changes over time. Although there is usually a difference, Ireland has in the past decade faced a 46pc inequality; this was at the peak. 

In general, the Irish public sector has proven to be paying more and growing quicker than the private sector. This is interesting, given that the public sector is owned and operated by or within the federal, county or local governments.

 The private sector is companies that have no governmental ties, and allow the privately owned establishments to set their own wages; some examples of this are corporations, both in not for profit and profit, and partnerships. 

The Central Statistics Office reported in 2018 that state workers on average earned around €947 a week, which at the end of the year would total just around €49,390. People doing similar jobs in …

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Renting vs. Buying

A current issue revolving around Irish news is whether to increase the supply of rental or property ownership. It is well known that there is a shortage in properties available, but just trying to produce as many properties as possible is not the solution. Careful review of the issue needs to take place by the government and necessary legislation would follow. Some factors to consider include; land zoning, shared ownership purchase models, tax breaks for EU nationals arriving for construction work, reduced CGT for empty sites, tax reduction for citizens downsizing, and help-to-buy schemes.

First time home buyers are having trouble purchasing homes due to the increasing purchase prices. It is universally agreed upon that more properties need to be available. According to an independent article, 2500 houses that were built in the first three months have not been sold yet. In addition, this is driving up decisions. That coupled with difficult mortgage banking is challenging middle- and lower-class citizens to find accommodation. These statements emphasize the lack of availability and ease for purchasing affordable housing.

Build-to-rent schemes have the …

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Dublin’s Housing Prices are Growing Faster than Income

A new report released by credit analysts from Moody’s states that Dublin house prices have grown approximately nine times the rate that employees’ wages have grown in the last six years. This is adding to the housing market difficulties causing many native Dubliners to either move or live on the streets. Many factors can be credited to the rising house prices including; the rise of multinational cooperation’s settling in Dublin coupled with the rapidly growing population. The Moody’s report concluded that Dublin’s population has grown by 21% since 2000 which, makes it the fasted growing city of all European capitals.

It ultimately comes down to the shortages of properties available in Dublin that are driving up the demand for housing, while the supplies stay consistent. Moody’s Investor service released a ranking for the European cities that its inhabitants can least afford to buy a home. Dublin was among the group of cities distinguished for being a hard and expensive city to find housing among many European countries. Additionally, the price to pay ratio for Dublin that determines how much money …

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TodayFM Last Word features Irish Mortgage Brokers and Joan Burton to discuss bank taxation

We took part in a conversation with Matt Cooper on The Last Word about bank taxation with Joan Burton from the Labour Party. We tried to make the point that short term thinking about bank taxation is a mistake, that we are better off getting the maximum amount of money back to the state rather than losing bank value in order to score a short term political win.

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Is the Housing Gap Increasing?

With an attempt to lift the housing market out of the current crisis it’s in, the Irish government is left to answer one very important question. Is the Help to Buy scheme even helping?

Or…is it worsening the gap of the home hunters who are looking for the ability to buy?

As what is already well known, house prices are soaring. Without the supply of housing increasing at any fast rate, this will continue to be the case.

Therefore, home prices are continuing to rise, much faster than incomes are rising, and the gap between available homes and affordable homes is continuing to worsen.

When looking at reports from CSO, the average wage in Ireland is €45,075 for a full-time employee. That number is, however, much lower as a median, where most of the working class clusters. The median is found at €28,500. A drastic difference and even more of a surprise when finding that, that means, nearly half the population is below that number.

This is where the Help to Buy scheme comes into play.

Introduced just earlier this …

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