What does Quarantine’s End Mean for Property Prices?

Dublin property agents predict that local property prices can see as large as a 5% increase as the lockdown regulations are lifted in the upcoming months. Many agencies have reported a large influx of registered potential buyers, some firms even registering nearly tripe the number as the same period in past years. This rush of buyers is largely due to the pandemic putting stops to many families’ plans of setting and signing mortgages. For others, it may be the desire to invest in a discounted property before prices skyrocket. Regardless, the sudden increase in demand for properties is sure to cause discrepancies within the real estate market.

Several factors driving demand include the strength of new mortgage approvals in the last quarter of 2020, and the growing availability and willingness of mortgage-lending rule exemptions of banks to offer to potential borrowers in 2021. There has also been a large group of potential buyers who have recently obtained loan approvals and are potential targets for these mortgage-lending rule exemptions in the past 6 months.

As for the number of properties in …

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What Does the Biden Administration bring to Ireland?

With the inauguration of Joe Biden, an ending of the four years of the highly debated Trump Administration begins. Many people are overjoyed with the change in power, but there is also some doubt. The main focus of Biden, as stated in his inauguration speech is to “restore the soul of America”, but what does that mean and entail for Ireland and our relationship with the US?

The effects of US government policies have long-lasting effects on the Ireland economy. Especially changes in corporate tax code on the US international companies that operate within our borders, employing nearly 160,000 people. These businesses are the case of nearly a €7 billion unforeseen fall of Irish corporation tax receipts over the last half-decade. The Trump administration was a strong advocate for tax reforms aimed to bring said organizations’ operations closer to home in the US. This included nearly a 10.5% charge on global low-taxed income, or otherwise known as the Gilti tax. The Gilti profits tax has been set far too low, and therefore did not discourage US companies to shift their …

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An Upcoming Change in Technology

One industry that is expected to see much change as the administration in the US White House changes out is technology. As not only an industry sector but also as a tool for the public and a policy. The relationship between the government and social media, communication apps, and surveillance technologies in the world have changed vastly during the Trump administration. The sudden increase in the role of live-streaming events, whether they be violent riots and protests, or current events can’t be ignored anymore as we have the power as a society to access information from any time, anywhere just by pulling out our smartphones.

The role of technology during the Trump administration has certainly been darkened and undermined. Technologies and techniques that were meant to publicize and open doors for democracy were equally used for spreading falsehood, fake news, discrediting valid sources, and promoting hatred, violence, and racism. These actions have shown how technology itself isn’t rather bad, but it depends on the wielder. And all-in-all the wider implications of using technology have not been seen. With proper attention …

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What is Open Banking?

Open Banking is generally known as the practice of sharing personal financial information electronically, under secure conditions that are both approved by corporations and by the consumer. In doing so, Application programming interfaces (APIs) allow Third-Party Providers (TTP) to access financial information efficiently which results in smoother, faster, and easier financial processes.

Examples of how Open Banking has already started to become implemented would be budget tracking apps on your device, or even through your bank that could be connected to checking or savings accounts. Other instances where Open Banking has been used when you don’t even realize would be purchases of a home or monthly payments. Technology is becoming increasingly prominent in daily financial transactions, and understanding how this affects your life is essential.

What can Open Banking do for you though? Open Banking is a huge aspect for not only banks but also TPP’s and regulators. It offers more personability and customization to its consumers in managing and borrowing money as well as making payments.

App developers have recruited the use of APIs to create more streamlined and …

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Saving During the Pandemic

Now is a great time to be investing in smart money saving techniques. The recent pandemic in 2020 has not treated many of us kindly, and money may be an issue even as we move into 2021. We’ve composed a shortlist of just a couple of ways you could help yourself financially to not only get back on your feet but also begin thinking of how to use your money wisely!

1: Begin Saving

Everyone should already always have an emergency fund at the ready, but why not go beyond that set a certain amount of your paycheck to be put into savings? According to Retail Analyst Mr. Kantar Worldpanel, nearly a quarter of Irish families regularly shop at either Aldi or Lidl. In that, nearly 75% of families rarely shop at discounter shops. These family-friendly stores could not only give you better, more local products but also be less of a burden on your wallet. Mr. Worldpanel also reports that of the families that shop at Aldi or Lidl, their weekly grocery bill is nearly 20% lower than those …

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Facebook announces own currency

Facebook has recently announced that it will be launching its own currency, with the promise of it being fully operational by 2020. This currency is not exactly classifies as a cryptocurrency, due to the fact that the value of Libra will be backed by a reserve. This is unlike regular cryptocurrencies, whose value is determined by the supply of the currency and other forms of cryptocurrency in the market as well as their individual demands. 

This financial platform is intended to also be regulated by a federation of companies and non-profit organisations through a Swiss foundation.The currency is quickly gaining traction, with investors minimum contribution being $10m. Some companies that have currently invested in this Facebook currency are Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Uber, Spotify and some venture capital firms such as Andreessen Horowitz. 

Facebook is intending to have this currency be distributed through some existing apps such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. These apps could make it hard to integrate a secure type of funds exchange, and would not provide a viable platform for many businesses to feel comfortable doing business …

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Sunday Business Post – Deposits

This story appeared in the print and online edition of the Sunday Business Post on the 9th of June 2013.

Another banking win is how some heralded the  move by the NTMA to drop their savings rates, in some instances these rates reducing by over 40%. The savings products are distributed on an agency basis by An Post, but was it a decision made due to bank pressure and is there anything a saver can do about it?

To start we need to remember that typical deposit rates in normal nations with healthy banks are generally about one percent or less. Our nation is not typical, our banks are still far from healthy, so we have seen elevated rates for the last five years.

At one point in late 2008 early 2009 you could get over 5% on a one year deposit. And although the banks whine about An Post having state backing and great rates they didn’t do this when their members had the best rates during the financial crisis and only existed due to state support, sauce for …

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AIB tightening criteria? Are banks really lending?

In recent days the IBF came out with a very positive story about how mortgage lending has increased year on year for the first time since 2006, at the same time the Central Bank are saying that criteria is tightening and other research suggests that almost HALF of our residential market is transacted in cash!

This is a classic example of two stories that contradict each other, or at least that seem to do so. Can you have tightening criteria with more lending? Of course you can! Demand for mortgages is up year on year (in our brokerage taking gross leads as the figure) about 30% or more.

Banks are saying that they accept the vast majority of mortgage applications (c.62% is their estimate), and the likes of AIB are actually ahead of …

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The 3 tools in a bankers box.

Banks have three tools (and no, it isn’t the CEO, Chairperson and Secretary!) in their box for getting into good health:

1. Operational efficiency: translation – fire a lot of people, close branches, reduce company benefit schemes etc 2. Reduce deposit pricing: pay the people who deposit with you less 3. Increase margins: on mortgages, SME loans, and every manner of service for which you can get away with it.

Which is why the news that AIB want to increase prices comes as no surprise. The first two parts of the plan are already under way, they are closing nearly 70 branches of which 44 just shut two weeks ago. They are getting rid of 2,500 staff members, that’s the ‘operational efficiency’ leg of the journey.

The deposit pricing is lower now than it was last year and last year was lower than the previous year, currently they’ll pay 2% or less for any account with a meaningful amount (greater than €50,000). While they market attractive rates for the regular saver (above a certain amount you’ll often go to a …

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Banks are lending (while standards tighten)

I often complain that banks are ‘not lending’, they say this isn’t true. The Central Bank then says that lending criteria is tightening (report here). This at first seems to support the first statement, but could it be that they are lending and reining in on underwriting criteria at the same time?

It could be, AIB stated that they wanted to lend €800m this year (that was said at the end of 2011 at an in house conference), they are on track to lend €1,050m which is about 25% higher than previously expected. Bank of Ireland/ICS are saying the same thing, at the same time, the main lenders have jacked up rates and made more conservative estimations of who does or doesn’t get loans.

With the fall out in lending from 06/07′ to now, it means that there are plenty of borrowers of a high quality who are seeking finance, when you raise interest rates the stress-testing gets harder to pass, so that cuts out a lot of borrowers, as …

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