Vlog on the Irish Economy – Ronan Lyons & Karl Deeter

I met up with Ronan Lyons (economist with Daft.ie) to talk about the ideas of property tax in Ireland, how it might be a fairer way to tax people than stamp duty, or indeed the abscence of property tax [because it rewards/doesn’t tax holding certain assets]. The discussion spread to other ideas in taxation, and eventually we made some predictions (I can already say they are bound to be wrong!) and then we took to the streets and asked Joe Public about their thoughts on the economy and whether or not they had any hope for the future.

If you want to watch the full conversation you can check out the playlist on youtube.

Ronan writes a very interesting blog, you can check it out at http://www.ronanlyons.com what I personally like best about Ronan (other than his affable good nature) is the unique take he has on many topics on Irish Propert (a subject I am very fond of), by utilising the daft database he is …

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Irrational banking, non-competition creating profits unexpectedly.

That banking in Ireland is a little irrational at present is a given, however, there are occurrences in the market which will change pricing structures in the near future, interestingly, by trying not to compete for business, several banks will ultimately make the market more profitable for all of the banks, achieving almost the opposite of what they had hoped to do.

I’ll explain, at the moment we have seen widespread Sovereign Credit Retrenchment, that’s a fancy way of saying that banks who are bailed out by certain countries are only really focusing on their indigenous markets because it is those markets that bailed them out. Irish banks have done this, Irish owned UK operations are closed. Equally, UK banks here are doing this by making their existing business rates higher and their new business rates exceptionally high.

Bank of Scotland’s new business variable rate is 6.19%, a whopping 5.19% over the ECB, they are doing this to avoid lending, and they are also paring back LTVs so that you have to have greater equity in the deal to borrow, …

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‘Fix or forever hold your tongue!’, A floor on Rates (with a rise likely!)

Rates likely to rise as per AIB’s statement, and PTsbs actions, what we are trying to tell everybody, in clear English is this: ‘If you don’t have a price guarantee on your mortgage via a tracker or fixed rate agreement then you will be paying greater margin over ECB in the near future than you are now’. If you don’t act upon that information then it is your own decision but you can’t say you weren’t forewarned.

Forewarning doesn’t stop disaster, the historical evidence on that is overwhelming, in particular in the military arena, today however, we will look at some of the potential changes we might see in the market.

Floor Rate: This would be a variable agreement whereby the rate will never dip below a certain level. For instance, a bank might say that in a low rate environment it will (in the future) never allow its variable rate to drop below 4%, …

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Toxic traders, capitalising on volumes

Joe Saluzzi of Themis Trading (I mistakenly read the link initially as ‘the mistrading’!) have recently published a paper which accuses traders of intentionally trading huge volumes where they buy and sell for the same price and in the process make a half a cent per share. The volume of trading is fictitious ‘high frequency traders’, what they do is buy and sell and collect liquidity rebates from the exchange (note: 50 milliseconds is a huge amount of time) in this game. Do it 8 billion times and it really starts to add up.

This is just depressing, actual investors don’t get to join in because the firms engaged in this are doing it within the actual exchanges using the fastest computer technology available. They also have an unfair advantage in how they trade because they use rules intended to match buyers and sellers to their advantage, they find hidden liquidity and in essence remove it from the market as profit.

The most powerful deterrent would be to make a rule …

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Retire young! Retire poor….

The age of retirement is going to rise, within the next five years it has to. There are several reasons, the most immediate being that the state doesn’t have the money to fund retirement at present, other factors are that people are living longer and the combined increase in health care costs to the elderly with the weight of funding pensions means one or the other has to give in eventually.

In October of 2005 Seamus Brennan gave a talk at the Merrion Hotel on the subject of the ‘Issues facing an ageing population’. The statistics are particularly relevant as they have not changed much since then.

(Excerpt) ‘The facts speak for themselves, in 2002 almost half a million people were aged 65 or over. The latest population projections suggest this may increase to 1.1 million people aged 65 and over by 2036. Right now we have almost 5 people working for every pensioner, when the demographic challenges are at their height this will decline to two workers for every pensioner. This fact has …

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The investment method of property valuations.

I recently enjoyed the company of IPAV lecturer Frank Quinn and during our time together we discussed the Irish property market and more importantly that of valuations, he explained that while the investment method of valuations is virtually unused in Irish property that it is relevant, not only for investment properties but also for residential housing.

First it is important to realise that there are two broad ways of valuing a property, the first is where you value at the ‘market’ price, in an upward market this can have the issue of pushing values higher as bidders vie to outdo each other on comparable properties, in a downward market it can be equally distorting, but in a fairly stagnant market the absence of transactions is, of itself a distortion, estate agents can’t look at their own back book of sales for information if that back book is empty.

It is therefore desirable at times, to use the valuation method, it is a simple way of viewing property valuations,  it does tend to …

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Living in the past, Irish property prices.

Paul O’Connor of MyHat.ie and PropertyWeek.ie has written up a great post on the Irish property market, the single biggest hindrance in the Irish property market is that of it being totally non-transparent when it comes to sales prices, most of us would settle for some opacity but alas, even that is too much to ask for.

Here is Paul’s Take on it:

An auction is a sale conducted in public. As such, prices paid at auction have always been available to the general public, and until auctions themselves became a victim of the market crash, we had become used to seeing auction results reported every week in the property pages of the newspapers.

In contrast, a private treaty sale is conducted in private. It does not specifically imply price secrecy, just that you can negotiate a deal at your own pace …

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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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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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