Jingle Mail, Jangle Mail, or ‘Voluntary Possession’.

I had the honour of being a speaker at a MABS seminar on the 21st of May, it was called ‘Keeping a roof over your head’ and it was focused on the issue of housing, and in particular that of the collections/repossession process of Irish Banks. One of the speakers was a solicitor named Colin Daly of the Northside Community Law Centre. He spoke about ‘Voluntary Possession’ which is the process of coming to an agreement with a lender whereby they take your house with your consent (you are not getting thrown out), it isn’t the legal terminology for ‘jingle mail’, ‘jangle mail’ or ‘sending the keys to the bank’ which is a totally different matter, it was a fascinating insight into the process and it is good to know that there are resources such as the NCLC out there for people in difficulty who need legal advice.

There was some information …

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A bank who wants clients should issue a tracker offering.

Trackers are dead and gone, there is one on the market but it’s at a margin so high that it is effectively worse than a bad variable rate. Evidence from the UK indicates that Co-Operative Bank’s tracker offering which is 2.39% tracker mortgage.

Will Irish banks follow suit? Probably not in the short term, when the market turns there will be some bank who have accumulated more than capital required and they will then turn this into lending, having said that, it will likely be a self underwriting product, one where the LTV is <= 50%, minimum of €200k borrowed but no more than €450/500k, and a qualifying income of €90k combined needed (stripped of overtime/bonus etc.).

If trackers come back I would be totally satisfied that they will operate as a client cherry picking operation more than anything, having said that, with time a competitor might follow suit!

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Get ahead of the curve on fixed rates… Oops! Too late!

We have been touting fixed rates for quite some time on the basis that people needed to fix at the time rates were heading for historic lows, not after the fact, as well as that, the indications from the ECB that they would not go below 1% and instead would seek alternative options (such as QE) meant that once we got close to the 1% the forward market would price that in, but when we actually reached the 1% base that equally the forward market would price in rising rates.

That is exactly what has happened, it wasn’t front page news when we said it, although the Sunday Times did do a big story in their business section in mid-February, but now that banks are starting to raise their interest rates it certainly is!

It gets back to planning, without exception every client we had that deliberately went for a fixed rate in the interim is in a good position, some who have opted for variable rates are doing well …

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The Final Crash, by Hugo Bouleau (book review & interview)

Hugo Bouleau’s (pseudonym of the author) book was for me, perhaps the most riveting reading of 2008. I like to underline important sentences in books, it’s a habit I picked up from a history teacher in secondary school. Looking back through ‘The Final Crash’ I can safely say I went through a whole pencil!

Bouleau writes the book not only from his practitioner experience as an asset manager for a large private bank in the Channel Islands (he is also a fellow of the Securities & Investment Institute), not only from his educational background from City University in London, but from that of a concerned citizen of the world who realises the core issue of the financial crisis, the one that remains largely uncovered in the day to day reporting, that of debt and leverage, in particular, that of irresponsible debt, and excessive leverage.

Bouleau has since changed careers, having recently started a Sharia compliant Islamic Finance operation. I caught up with him on the phone just as …

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The Final Crash, by Hugo Bouleau (book review & interview)

Hugo Bouleau’s (pseudonym of the author) book was for me, perhaps the most riveting reading of 2008. I like to underline important sentences in books, it’s a habit I picked up from a history teacher in secondary school. Looking back through ‘The Final Crash’ I can safely say I went through a whole pencil!

Bouleau writes the book not only from his practitioner experience as an asset manager for a large private bank in the Channel Islands (he is also a fellow of the Securities & Investment Institute), not only from his educational background from City University in London, but from that of a concerned citizen of the world who realises the core issue of the financial crisis, the one that remains largely uncovered in the day to day reporting, that of debt and leverage, in particular, that of irresponsible debt, and excessive leverage.

Bouleau has since changed careers, having recently started a Sharia compliant Islamic Finance operation. I caught up with him on the phone just as …

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How is TRS calculated?

TRS or Tax Relief at Source, is a mortgage related tax relief available to first time buyers. The working elements of it will be described in today’s post.

When you draw down a mortgage, if you are a qualifying applicant, then you can then apply for your TRS by downloading the TRS1p form from the Revenue website. After you send it off it will take a few weeks to process, and then you will get the years tax relief averaged out over the remainder of the year.

For example (we’ll show the calculations later) if your mortgage drew down in January but your TRS only kicked in during March then the relief would be paid as the average of 12 months over 9 months – say it was meant to be  €300 per month (had it started in January) then you’d be getting  €400 per month for the remainder of the partial year.

The …

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Current account interest rates are set to drop

Banks have a pool of money called ‘zero rated funds’, this is the money that they hold for which they are paying no interest. Lots of current accounts fall under this category, and banks can figure out with time, the block that is there on a regular basis when you remove the marginal volatility in the funds held at any time.

Imagine you own a money shop and you buy in money and sell it too, in the till you know that no matter what  happens you always seem to have at least €60 in the till, that would be the equivalent of your zero rated funds (hope that makes sense!).

When banks lend they take these zero rated funds and mix them with money bought on the market to come up with ‘blended rates’. So while some money is costing 0% other money might cost 1.269% (that’s today’s 3 month Euribor ), you then get an average of these and depending on what the ‘blend’ or ‘mix’ is your …

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WE HAVE MOVED! To 33 Pearse Street.

We have moved our offices to a new location (still on Pearse Street) to 33 Pearse Street.  It’s about 250 metres towards the city centre from our old offices, and three doors down from O’Neills pub (everybody in Ireland seems to use pubs as landmarks!).

The new office decision came when our lease on our old office came up for review, we felt that there were deals to be had on the market and it didn’t make any sense to stay put, if you drive down Pearse Street aiming to go to the north side then you’ll have to pass our offices, its the place painted red and yellow.

Other than our location everything else has stayed the same (our broadband is temporarily down), you can email us at our regular email addresses and our phone number is still 01 679 0990. Individual broker direct dial phone numbers have changed but we’ll publish them soon on our website and make sure that everybody gets an email.

The blog will be back up to full speed as of next week and …

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Bank of Scotland cut back on LTV’s

Bank of Scotland recently announced that no longer will support an applicant seeking to borrow 90% for a newly constructed, or second hand property.

In view of the new homes gathering market clearing pace, I feel Bank of Scotland have been a little short sighted here. This profile of the property market accounts for a huge amount of business, especially with builders seeking to offload newly built properties at knock down prices. I don’t think I am being short sighted when I predict fervent activity over the coming months with many first time buyers eyeing dropping prices as an economical godsend, match that with a low rate environment and it gives mobility, choice, and all of this at a price that won’t break the bank.

Paying € 1,100 / € 1,200 for a 2 bed city centre apartment makes sense for people who don’t wish to live with their parents. If we move this on a step further, it makes even more sense to buy. With very low lending rates, you …

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Bank of Scotland cut back on LTV's

Bank of Scotland recently announced that no longer will support an applicant seeking to borrow 90% for a newly constructed, or second hand property.

In view of the new homes gathering market clearing pace, I feel Bank of Scotland have been a little short sighted here. This profile of the property market accounts for a huge amount of business, especially with builders seeking to offload newly built properties at knock down prices. I don’t think I am being short sighted when I predict fervent activity over the coming months with many first time buyers eyeing dropping prices as an economical godsend, match that with a low rate environment and it gives mobility, choice, and all of this at a price that won’t break the bank.

Paying € 1,100 / € 1,200 for a 2 bed city centre apartment makes sense for people who don’t wish to live with their parents. If we move this on a step further, it makes even more sense to buy. With very low lending rates, you …

Read More