In an article by Sinead Ryan in the Independent we were quoted on several matters:
With all the talk of celebrating the Rising in 2016, it won’t extend to a rising mortgage market, says broker Karl Deeter. “The changes to lending criteria and in particular the Central Bank changes meant that while 90pc LTV (loan to value) mortgages were available, as the year progressed more banks started to withdraw them. Due to the way the figures are going to be reported in 2016 it will be a case of, ‘Want a 90pc mortgage? Get it in January or July’. And that’s because the half-year periods are going to be the times in which they are mostly available.”
One positive change, says Deeter, was that interest rates came down during the year, in particular fixed rates as banks came under pressure to explain Ireland’s excessive rates compared to those enjoyed by our EU neighbours. Although all banks rocked up at the Banking Inquiry, and most were (or tried their best to sound) contrite, the truth is that pillar Bank of Ireland in particular never had any intention of reducing rates for customers.
It is no longer State controlled, and can do what it likes. And it does. It saw right through Michael Noonan’s limp threat to sanction it – and the Finance Minister blinked first. Introducing a suite of lower fixed rate products was a sop and its 2pc cash back offer, which is extremely attractive to buyers, merits being balanced out against higher level variable rates over the term.
State-controlled AIB did reduce its rates a couple of times across the board, because it was told to. The others were a mish-mash in between; the foreigners like Ulster and KBC were under no compunction to pay any regard to Noonan.
So, if the Minister isn’t a threat, and the CBI is impotent, what will do the trick? Competition, says Deeter. “I think it will occur in 2016, it’s just really slow to happen. Supply side issues need to resolve, credit is only one half of one side of the property market so it’s the little brother of things for now, but that isn’t a sign of good health, a high proportion of cash sales [up to 50pc in many markets] is a sign there are other issues at play.”