There was an interesting infographic out today from One Big Switch showing what people have done in order to make their mortgage repayments.
It ranged from working extra hours, to taking fewer holidays and socializing less. What is interesting about this, is that nobody tends to look at the wider economy effects of high mortgage rates, and the Central Bank while saying they want to examine them, cannot and will not do anything about it.
Higher rates act like an informal ‘tax’, and as some banks are foreign owned it means taking income out of the Irish economy and funnelling it elsewhere, this affects our balance of trade and was a reason we always questioned the Patrick Honohan diktat of not having an issue if all banks were foreign owned.
This informal tax reduces expenditure in the productive economy and goes towards rationalizing zombie balance sheets, so lower rates should be a priority for everybody, but the way to get there isn’t force, it’s competition and for that reason we are hopeful that the switching campaign will be a successful one that spurns competition.