Highlights from the 2017 Macro-Financial Review

The Central Bank of Ireland published today it’s 2017 Macro-Financial Review. The report gives an overview of the Irish economy and the state of its financial environment. The aim of the report is to help protect the interests of the Bank’s stakeholders, these include: the Irish people, national and international authorities, and other participants in the financial market.

Sharon Donnery, the Central Bank’s deputy governor, introduced the report in a speech this morning. She states that the state of the general economy is improving, but also mentions a few outstanding issues that have the potential to negatively impact the economy’s improvement.

The report notes that much of the uncertainty in the Irish economy is a consequence of Brexit. The depreciation of the sterling against the euro and decreasing consumer spending in the UK has already put a burden on export industries. Uncertainties relating to Brexit may also arise from new trade barriers, trade policies and changes in international taxation.

Read More

A response to: Housing for homes – a classic case of market failure

A recent blog post published by Tom Healy, director of the Nevin Economic Research Institute, suggested that the current housing market in Ireland is an example of a failed market. Healy believes that the issue of under supply of housing can only be solved if the government expands provisions of social housing and extends its jurisdictions over prices and supply in the housing market.

Healy based his argument upon the assumption that the current housing market has failed and is unable to recover without intervention. He cites a chronic under supply of housing and the inability of government programs to sufficiently meet demand. While there is indeed a under supply of housing and rising prices due to pent up demand, a series of government construction plans such as the 2013 Forfas Strategy, Capital Investment Plan, and Action Plan for Housing and the Homeless, in addition to private investments are expected to dramatically increase housing supply within the next few years. These projects directly address the supply issue by promising 47,000 additional units of social housing before 2021.

The blog post …

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 1

Looking at an American mortgage from the outside can seem identical as a mortgage you would obtain in Ireland. You sign a contract, you’re given the keys to your new home in exchange for monthly payments for a set amount of years. But behind the scenes is where things get a little more complicated. The United States has created a secondary mortgage market after the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Since then, the secondary mortgage market is a multi-billion dollar corporation that has the single biggest taxpayer corporation in the US.

In simple terms, the secondary mortgage market includes Government-Sponsored Enterprises that act as the middle man between the mortgage lenders and the investors. They will buy residential loans off of lenders then securitise and trade them to investors. When the Government-Sponsored Enterprises buy a loan off a mortgage lender it returns the loan amount so the lender can turn around and lend to a new family. This allows more capital to be freed to help more families reach their goals of becoming a homeowner and invest in their future.

Read More

Yet Another Warning of a Property Bubble: More Perspectives

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has voiced fears that the economy is overheating. This comes soon after the Fiscal Advisory Council heeded similar warnings earlier this week.

The OECD believes that the banking system is still fragile, with bad loans still accounting for 17% of the total. And while the government has already put into place plenty of macro-prudential policies, there is still the possibility that rapidly rising prices lead to another bubble and burst that would disrupt the delicate economy.

Indicative of OEDC’s stance, overall property market prices are up 8.2% this year at the end of April. The boom in construction is already visible on Dublin’s skyline. Irish Times counted 70 construction cranes towering over Dublin from the 7th floor of their office building on June 1st. This number represents a sizable increase compared to the number Irish Times counted in the first few months of this year. The number of cranes is predicted to continue to rise based on the number of large …

Read More

Danger of a new housing bubble?

While the economy is still in recovery, housing supply has been quickly picking up in the past few years. With government construction plans such as the 2013 Forfas Strategy, Capital Investment Plan, and Action Plan for Housing and the Homeless, the housing boom will likely continue if not further accelerate in the years to come.

There are voices of warning: the Fiscal Advisory Council warns that the trends in output and employment in the construction industry may overheat the overall economy, leading to rapidly raising prices and wages. There are also those who believe that output in the construction industry is recovering slowly and still well below what it should be. DKM Economic Consultants recently published a report lamenting a lack of skilled personnel in construction and advocating for greater government funding and availability of apprenticeships.

Acknowledging that the housing supply response is driven by pent up demand, The Fiscal Advisory Council warns that the speed and scale of the response is the real issue. A dramatic increase …

Read More

Could Monetary Policy be affecting the Mortgage Default Rate?

With reference to How does monetary policy pass-through affect mortgage default? Evidence from the Irish mortgage market by David Byrne, Robert Kelly, and Conor O’Toole. 04/RT/2017

With the loosening structure of the monetary policy by central banks after the global financial crisis, which allowed the mortgage interest rates to be lower which could have led to a lower default rate on mortgages. This post will focus on two different types of mortgages the Standard Variable Rate mortgage (most commonly known as SVR) and the Tracker mortgage.

A SVR is a mortgage where the lender has the ability to decide when and if the interest rate on the loan will change while a Tracker mortgage is where the interest rate is set to a certain percentage above the European Central Bank interest rate. As the number of Tracker mortgages were increasing while the European Central Bank interest rate was decreasing, the banks started to lose money on them as the interest rate on the mortgage payments were not high enough to cover the cost of the loan. …

Read More

Property Company Drops Landlords: What this means for Dublin’s rental market

Property agent Hooke & MacDonald announced Monday that it will no longer manage individual lettings because of the paperwork costs involved. The Residential Tenancies Act of 2004 has been recently amended by the Residential Tenancies Act of 2015 and the Planning and Development and Residential Tenancies Act of 2016, which extended rent pressure zones, made it harder to raise rents and increased the frequency of rent reviews and other bureaucratic procedures for private rented housing.

For a large property company like Hooke & MacDonald, the new regulations mean that managing single property lettings is no longer profitable. The company suffers from economies of scale, and only by managing entire apartment blocks and multiple lettings will it be cost efficient. For landlords renting a single property, this means not only being restricted by the regulations but also having to find a different company to represent them.

Hooke & MacDonald’s response reflects the consequences of the new regulations. In particular, regulation on rent pressure zones restrict the rise in rents …

Read More

Irish Times mention Irish Mortgage Brokers, 9th May 2017

We were mentioned by the Irish Times in a piece about mortgage arrears. It was in conjunction with a talk given to the Housing Agency on mortgage arrears. It quoted part of the talk we gave…

Financial adviser Karl Deeter told the conference his research puts the non-engagement rate at closer to 80 per cent.

Mr Deeter said the courts are “predisposed” towards borrowers, and that people are given many chances before they lose their homes.

“There’s three magic rules if you want to lose your home: pay zero for a long period of time, don’t engage with your lender – and then don’t show up to court,” he said.

“These three inputs were central to virtually every case of possession we saw.”

Mr Deeter said that according to his research, more than 90 per cent of distressed borrowers who engaged with their lender were able to work out some sort of deal to avoid repossession.

 

Read More

The housing market in Iran

This is a guest blog post covering some topics on Iranian housing, it was contributed by MNA.

House Prices: The norm in Iran for valuing any real estate is by location and meterage of that location so for any individual trying to see what the market is for buying or renting, all you need is to look at any particular area and there are plenty of ways of cross checking and seeing if the price is right.

Looking at pricing via advertisements helps, as does speaking with the local estate agents who will tell you  the going rate before you start your search so that you would have a good idea of what you can afford and where you can live.

The Local currency is very volatile and everyone is worried of that, but in reality all the trading is conducted with USD or Euro so no matter what happens, when you are trying to price an item it is always reflected on the FX rate, as all expensive ticket items would have an important role in the economy. http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/convert/?From=IRR&To=EUR …

Read More