Generic overview of the market 2009: by sector

I was asked by a colleague in the UK to provide an overview of the Irish mortgage market, he has often advised the Bank of England in the past on the UK buy to let market, however this time it is in relation to a talk he was due to give to an international financial services group on the Irish economy. Below are the contents of my correspondence which is a no holds barred view of the mortgage market in 2009.

Remortgage: This area is finally starting to see some life again, the rate drops are filtering through and many of the people on fixed rates taken out in 2005/2006/2007  are shopping around, as always new business attracts better rates than existing customers so there is once again an argument for switching.

However, the many people who took out trackers are basically out of the market in the long term as every single lender has removed tracker mortgages from the market, in fact, if you know of a lender willing …

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Bill Gross of Pimco talks about the deficit in the USA

Bill Gross, known as ‘Mr. Bond’ runs the largest bond fund in the world, in this video he talks about many of the issues facing the economy under the new Obama presidency. Bill Gross is a fascinating character who started his careers as a professional gambler I always enjoy listening to his views on the market which he does with an intersting mix of macro/micro/common sense views.

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How falling interest rates hurt banks during a liquidity crisis

The falling interest rates are heralded by consumers of Irish mortgage companies as a godsend – well, for the clients of the Irish banks who actually pass on the full rate cuts that is! However, at the same time it creates a rate compression which damages the bank and this is what we will consider in this article.

Banks have two sides to the operation roughly speaking, on one side there is the lending function which we are all aware of, mortgages, car loans, personal loans etc. on the other side is the deposit taking function which provides part of the money they lend out. There is of course the interbank market which supplements (and often surpasses) deposit funds for lending, but to keep things simple we will focus on a world where deposits roughly equal lending.

When

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ECB cuts rates to 2.5% – tracker mortgage interest rates benefit.

Tracker mortgages are a mortgage that is tied to some form of base, be it the ECB base rate or the Euribor, in residential lending it tends to be the ECB in commercial it tends to be the Euribor. Today interest rates were reduced by a further 0.75% giving a new base rate of 2.5%, which is the lowest it has been since March of 2006,the Euribor is now at 3.743% and will see the base rate drop filter through in the coming days.

Commercial loans tend to follow the Euribor, specifically the 3 month money which banks actually tend to use to finance most of their operations. The way that banks operate is to sell long term but finance short term. This is where they create their margin and its based on the yield curve, part of the problem in the last 12 months was a yield curve inversion which made lending difficult and was a …

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ECB announce €200 Billion injection

The ECB have just announced a €200 billion plan designed to stimulate eurozone economies, it is unlikely though that Ireland will take part in any of the plan. It was unveiled earlier today by Jose Manuel Barroso, €170 billion will come from member states and the remainder will come from the European Budget and the European Investment Bank.

Ireland has no room for further fiscal stimulus at present according to the Department of Finance, the foremost issue with Ireland is (according to Europe and our own government) is to get our spiralling deficit under control. One aspect of the stimulus is that €5 Billion will be going towards building greener cars (maybe this is the big break the AirCar has needed!).

The EU are taking these measures to avoid further downturn and to do so with coordinated policy responses. In the USA they announced an $800 billion Dollar stimulus plan. Both LIBOR and Euribor rates fell which will …

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100% Mortgages, how to get a 100% mortgage

100% Mortgages became quite popular in Ireland recently and up until the credit crunch they were proving to be the answer for many young buyers, the reason for requiring a 100% mortgage is normally because a person has been renting and paying off college debt etc. and for that reason they were not able to save up a deposit of 8-10% or more. Given that Irish property prices (at least in Dublin) were – and still are – above c. €350,000 it means you would have to save up the guts of €35,000, no easy feat even if you didn’t have college debt and lived at home.

The issue currently though is that the Irish property market is in a declining phase, so lenders have pulled back for the most part from 100% mortgages for the simple reason that they could be in a situation of inverse equity. When you get a mortgage normally you have at least some stake in the transaction, a down-payment or deposit and that portion ensures that you are committed to the transaction, call it …

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