The rich will prosper when the rules make sure they do.

We have been critics of the Central Bank mortgage lending caps, believing instead that a rule similar to section 149 of the Consumer Credit Act could be used on underwriting to ensure that banks can’t find any way to loosen standards rather than employing ‘hard caps’.

What’s more, it has kept many people out, caused a chaotic 4th quarter and ensures that well off people are unaffected while those most harmed are the less well off. Our submission to CP87 was ignored in its entirety but that doesn’t matter because the results speak for themselves.

Mortgage lending is still mainly going to first time buyers, 57% of draw-downs were to first time buyers, but then look at the income multiple and you see that this is nearly five times average earnings.

What does that mean? For a start, that people on high wages with high savings were doing a lot of the lending, of course that’s fine because it was always a case that they had access to credit.

The issue is more for the prospective first time buyer who is caught between the no-man’s land of a 10% deposit and a 20% deposit because for them the message is clear, borrow in January or July because the calculation and reporting to the Central Bank occurs half yearly after 2015.

That is why we are going to have a quirky credit market, in particular this is damaging because it is causing compression on the rented sector and also ensures that wealth accrues (via rising prices and that the cost of a housing overhead creates a balance sheet gain to a home-owner) to those who are best off.

In time we will likely see, with hindsight, that this policy, like many the Central Bank stood over in the last five years, was mistaken, there were better ways to do this that would have fewer unintended consequences, but sadly several people there have staked their reputation on this and they’d rather see bystanders damaged while some fluffy sense of ‘the better good’ is fulfilled.

 

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