Irish Mortgage Brokers and MyHome.ie on TV3’s ‘The Morning Show’, 2nd March 2011

We were delighted to feature again on TV’s ‘The Morning Show with Sybil and Martin’ (although Brian was sitting in for Martin) on their monthly property slot.

This week we spoke about the necessity of price drops to get a property sold, it is likely the single most important factor, it is also overlooked that there is often a carry cost or opportunity cost loss if sellers don’t drop prices.

Next month we are likely to cover ’empties’, that will be a fascinating show worth tuning in for!

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Property prices and property costs, they are not the same, so do you rent or buy?

We have seen a growing trend in our brokerage of people getting mortgage approvals (mainly first time buyers) and not drawing down, this might indicate some pent up demand in housing – which if it comes will be regular houses as opposed to apartments – or it indicates fear of buying in general.

The thing that is pervasive is the ‘price’ of housing, and the idea is to wait until we reach the bottom. That is a perfectly rational concept, and when you are not purchasing over a long term then the price now (we’ll take from financial market vernacular and call it the ‘spot price’ of housing) is the main thing to focus on.

However, that is only one part of the ‘price’ because the majority of new buyers are not buying for cash. The other price is the price of money, the financing costs. We indicated in our annual outlook that banks would, in 2011 alone, increase rates by a further 100bps or 1%, that any bank which isn’t government owned will have variable rates in the region …

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Are 100% mortgages the problem? Is LTV a symptom or a cause?

An article in the Independent yesterday pointed toward 100% mortgages being a significant attributer to the bubble, I would wager it was a symptom rather than a cause, the IBA meanwhile has called for all mortgages to be made on a non-recourse basis.

The good thing is that people and organisations are trying to find a way to avoid a repeat of the property bubble, and they are not one off events as the UK can testify.  There are however, significant factors contributing to what happened.

1: lenders didn’t price risk, they didn’t even ‘price at all’: Banks have utterly failed to do the job they were designed to do, namely that of profitable intermediation, we had huge amounts of competition on lending, that drove down criteria requirements and also compressed margins, then along came trackers, these had low margin price promises – Bank of Scotland brought them into Ireland and have since left. I spoke with a Bank exec. yesterday and he …

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AIB Interest Rate Hike: How much? To Who? What’ll it cost?

Yesterday AIB increased interest rates for both existing and new borrowers. This comes as a huge blow to consumers, in particular given that the consumer is the same taxpayer who has done so much to bail out the bank. Do people have the right to be angry? Hell yeah they do!

The move has been coming for quite some time, we have been harping on about this for over a year, the most recent prediction was to put a time-frame and figure on the hikes, stating that it would start in Q1 of 2010 and in the course of the year we’d see c. 100 basis points or 1% of an increase across the board with a further 50 basis points or 0.5% in 2011. Today’s Independent has stated that we can actually expect all of it in 2010.

Why is this happening?

Simply put, the banks are not charging enough to cover the costs of loans that are not performing. In a way you …

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The day I mis-sold an insurance policy

About five years ago I had a couple in with me who were buying a home, I was helping them to determine their insurance needs and I realised that they had literally no protection if either of them ever fell seriously ill – not via their job/employer schemes or individually. So I suggested that they consider some serious illness cover, it would have cost them about €20 a month but they were insistent that they only wanted what was ‘cheapest and nothing more’.

As an adviser, it isn’t my job to always accept what people say they want because often, with adequate probing and understanding they actually want something entirely different, a skewed but simple way of understanding what I mean is that when saving or investing the majority of people want ‘high growth and high security’ – when in fact, these two features are normally night and day, if there ever was an asset that could deliver high growth with deposit account style security then everybody would pile in and the market would adjust accordingly, therefore you need to …

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Why aren't mortgages MORE expensive?

In looking at any product or service you will often hear people mention ‘supply and demand’, it is one of the foundations of Microeconomics.

Generally if supply increases prices drop, if it decreases prices rise. By how much is a question of how elastic the demand is versus supply.

We know from our day to day experience that there is still a high level of demand for mortgage finance, charting our figures back to 2005 has shown us that if we take out ‘noise’ of m/o/m figures that demand is still at relatively high levels.

However, we also know, from our daily interactions with banks that criteria is getting harder, conditions more restrictive, underwriting is more forensic, the supply of mortgages is decreasing rapidly.

Using a simple chart you would get something along the lines the one below, the blue supply and demand lines show  the situation at a certain point in time, we’ll say that is a year ago, the green line of supply shows the current situation – it has moved to the left because of the decrease.

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Why aren’t mortgages MORE expensive?

In looking at any product or service you will often hear people mention ‘supply and demand’, it is one of the foundations of Microeconomics.

Generally if supply increases prices drop, if it decreases prices rise. By how much is a question of how elastic the demand is versus supply.

We know from our day to day experience that there is still a high level of demand for mortgage finance, charting our figures back to 2005 has shown us that if we take out ‘noise’ of m/o/m figures that demand is still at relatively high levels.

However, we also know, from our daily interactions with banks that criteria is getting harder, conditions more restrictive, underwriting is more forensic, the supply of mortgages is decreasing rapidly.

Using a simple chart you would get something along the lines the one below, the blue supply and demand lines show  the situation at a certain point in time, we’ll say that is a year ago, the green line of supply shows the current situation – it has moved to the left because of the decrease.

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GO TO JAIL! Do not pass go, do not collect €200 million

The talk of ‘Economic Treason’ and calling for the heads of every banker are sadly starting to gain more and more traction, all of this is happening without concrete evidence thus far of exactly ‘who’ we are chasing and ‘for what’ specifically, largely the financial leaders greed is central to accusations of wrongdoing, and while greed may not be morally acceptable to right thinking individuals it is not actually a crime.

The FT recently had an article showing that executive pay misguided but that it didn’t make them criminal by nature, stupidity is an ‘equal opportuntities’ trait. It is important that every person in finance is not villified for what was something that all of society played a part in.

One question nobody is asking is ‘what part did I play in this?’, as a brokerage we are culpable, as a consumer I am personally culpable and as a citizen I will be paying for mistakes made on both …

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