Problems of the Irish Housing Market

The Irish housing market has faced a drastic increase in price of homes over the last 30 years. Of course inflation has contributed to the increase of the cost of homes, but inflation cannot nearly explain the massive jump in prices of Irish homes. More specifically, costs of housing has jumped more than five times the cost of a home 30 years ago.

So what does explain the massive rise in costs of property prices? Could it be that increase in salaries contribute to the rise of price in homes? I know that the average income today is much higher than it was 30 years ago. However, the rate that average income has increased over the last few decades is nowhere near the amount that housing prices have increased.

The maximum mortgage loan a homebuyer can be granted is his or her average salary multiplied by 3.5. According to the Irish Mirror, the average take weekly income of an irish person is €734 per week. Multiply this by 52 and you have €38168 before taxes. Even income before tax …

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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 …

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Can car owners make money off of their car by not even driving it?

A new emerging Wicklow-based company might make that possible. Fleet, frequently referred to the Airbnb for cars, just secured AXA car insurance company to offer drivers coverage for only £7-£10 a day. The insurance deal is separate and does not affect the car owner’s own coverage.With this new deal, the business is going to hit the ground running. The brains of it all, Maurice Sheehy, is offering car owners a chance to make a profit off their car while they are not using it. This gives opportunity to car owners who don’t use their cars on their daily commute to make money by renting them out. If used two days a week, one can make £3,500 a year, according to Sheehy.

This new business may change the game for the car rental services, hopefully comparable to Airbnb in accommodations and Uber in taxis. With the reviewing process similar to Airbnb, the online reviews can be used by renters and users to ensure a good experience.

The new company was created because how frustrated they were with the large amounts of …

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Are we in a cyclical bull market?

Steve Leuthold talks on Bloomberg about the reasons he feels we are going to see a cyclical bull market (as opposed to the secular bear that many feel we are in). Small cap stocks (likely some pinksheets) and many others are headed upwards according to Leuthold who feels that this we are seeing the best valuations he has come across in his 45 years of studying the markets.  He says that a split of 65% in stocks is now advisable, that is a huge weighting given the market moves we have seen lately where equity holders have been continuously wiped out. Big tech stocks and gold both feature in his talk.

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Approval in Principle, the flaws.

Our firm [and I am sure many brokerage firms] are witnessing a conundrum in the market which is causing both clients and the broker a huge amount of heartache. It is that of the ‘AIP’ or ‘Approval In Principle’ not being honoured by banks over short periods of time. One lender in particular [we can’t name names] is doing that on so many cases that we no longer consider their approvals as holding any relevance.

What is an approval in principle (A.I.P. is the broker-speak we use to describe them)? It generally means that you have given a bank enough information to make a strong [and yet preliminary] decision on a case, sometimes it is subject to further documentation, or they want to get a valuation report before making a full offer, in any case an AIP is NOT a loan offer but it is as strong an indication as one can get without dealing with solicitors, in the past an AIP was honoured almost exclusively and they were seen as fundamental to …

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House prices are on the move!

Sherry FitzGerald said yesterday that property prices fell 4.5% in the second quarter of the year having fallen 1.9% in the first quarter. The results to the 12 months to June showed that prices fell 10.2%. So house prices are moving, albeit down.

The factors that are affecting property are mixed and many, primarily the prices are/were too high, and any time assets receive valuations above and beyond what they merit you will see market corrections. We are also seeing a unique time in banking history, and in many respects the property price correction is not dissimilar to the 1929 crash because both of them focus around leverage, I’ll continue on that point in a later blog about ‘similarities in economic history’.

Cheap money from central banks is also on the wane, in fact almost every economy has increased rates in an effort to bring inflation under control, mixed in with the lending liquidity issues we see a two fold effect. First is that there is not as much money to lend, even …

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