Mortgage rates set to drop and competition to increase in 2015

We have commented several times since last year that the trend for mortgage rates in 2015 will be to see them drop. With spreads of c. 300bp’s on lending it makes it one of the reliably profitable sectors of banking given the stringent underwriting being applied.

With the Central Bank looking to curtail first time buyers but doing nothing about incumbent borrowers getting restricted it means that they have directed the market towards refinancing.

This is because one of the niches left on the table is that of existing variable rate holders, which banks will now try to tempt away from one another in an effort to grow market share.

There are many who cannot take part and below is a list of the mortgage holders who won’t benefit.

Those in negative equity, they are going to be stuck when it comes to refinance, they can trade up with a negative equity mortgage but they won’t be able to ‘switch’. Those on fixed rates which accounts for in the region of 50,000 mortgage accounts, they face break penalties, and only …

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Prudence puts you deeper in debt… Nice work by the Central Bank

The news that higher loan to values will have to be limited is being mistakenly applauded by many financial commentators, almost none of whom work in credit. Towards the end of the post we demonstrate that you can actually be worse off by being forced to wait and put down a larger deposit than if you acted normally and bought today with a 10% deposit.

That’s why taking a look at the numbers beneath and how it will affect mortgages is important. First time buyers are typically the younger end of the house owning spectrum, they largely chose to stay out of the market during the financial crisis, a good choice, very rational.

That is why the people renting rose so much between 2006 and 2011. A total of 474,788 households were in rented accommodation in 2011, a considerable rise of 47 per cent from 323,007 in 2006.

It created a build up of non-owners who want in, but who are not the main driver of property price increases …

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KBC launch a ‘quick approval’ process

For a while we have seen competition starting to heat up a little in the mortgage market. Several moves recently have started to demonstrate this further, Bank of Ireland have their ‘pay you to borrow from us’ campaign, KBC had a ‘pay you to switch’ along with rates that beat everybody else.

Now they (KBC) have launched a quick approval process which aims to cut down the time it takes to get approved which at it’s worst was taking up to four weeks with some banks. This is only for an approval in principle, which isn’t worth much (not like a loan offer is) but it is the first step in the mortgage process in terms of getting meaningful feedback from a lender.

They have a first time buyer 1yr fixed rate of 3.5%, short term fixed rates are where banks tend to go to attract business as the first year costs are what many buyers are fixated on rightly or wrongly.

There is one bank rumoured to be considering a return to brokerage, another who shut operations considering re-opening …

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Compound interest

This video explains the upside and downside of compound interest. This is one of the fundamental lessons in understanding money, and although it’s ‘back to basics’ there is nothing wrong with repeating the primary lessons to aid retention.

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Newstalk: Coleman at large ‘Economic recovery… Are we there yet?’

We discussed housing and the economy with Marc Coleman on his Sunday night show ‘Coleman at Large’. Other guests included Dan White from the Herald, Constantin Gurgiev of Trinity, Sheena Horgan who works in marketing and Karl Deeter.

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Morning Ireland: Interest only loans and the Insolvency Service

We were asked to speak on RTE’s ‘Morning Ireland’ business news with Brian Finn about interest only mortgages and whether or not they constituted a future threat to the mortgage market as well as to comment on the Insolvency Service of Ireland figures that were out which showed a marked increase (although still low gross numbers) in resolutions.

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Central Bank findings on interest only mortgages

The Central Bank released some findings on interest only mortgages (below), we’ll follow up with some commentary and interpretation soon.

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The research analyses the loan characteristics, including loan performance, of mortgages originated on interest-only terms in Ireland.

The main findings of the research are:

While interest-only arrangements have been widely used as a means of temporary forbearance to deal with the current mortgage arrears crisis, mortgages were also originated on interest-only terms during the height of the boom. Between 2005 and 2008, interest-only mortgages were mainly issued to buy-to-let investors on tracker mortgages and at high loan-to-value ratios. Interest-only mortgages were more likely to be issued to buy-to-let borrowers in Dublin and for the purchase of apartments than standard mortgages. The arrears rates on these mortgages are higher than standard mortgages. A significant number of interest-only mortgages are due to revert to principal-and-interest repayments in the next 2 years. The resulting higher repayments for these borrowers could lead to an increase in mortgage arrears. 44 per cent of the buy-to-let interest only borrowers will …

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RTE: Property bubbles discussed by Brian Lucey and Karl Deeter

Keelin Shanley was sitting in for Sean O’Rourke on the Today Show on RTE Radio 1. She had Brian Lucey and Karl Deeter on the show to discuss the issues with the property market in Ireland and in Dublin in particular where prices rose 22% in the last year.

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Priming the property pump

The issue with Irish property (in particular Dublin where demand is evident) is that the pump has been primed in many different ways, first we’ll look at ‘how’ and then we’ll look at the aftermath using a worked example.

First of all, here are some of the things that are driving the market…

1. Build up of buyers, be they first time buyers or REIT’s who are able to take up any available supply.2. ECB rates are low, yield searching is an issue, deposit rates are low as is the risk free rate by comparison.3. Tax policy is an issue, from 2014 the marginal rate applies meaning that in a few short years the tax has gone up by 105% on savings from 20% to 41%.4. Finally, there is the Capital Gains Tax waiver if you buy a property and hold it for 7 years.

So here’s a worked example of the massive give away this represents and why it is mobilising so much money into property. We’ll take an identical €200,000 make a comparison over 7yrs from 2014 and …

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