Loan refusal statistics: what do they mean?

There are two sets of statistics floating around; on one hand you have the banks who claim that they are lending and also that the demand for credit simply isn’t there – a belief further expounded by John Trethowan. Then on the other hand you have the likes of PIBA who counter claim that 80% of applications are being refused.

So it is important to break down the vital components. First of all, the debate often centres around Small Medium Enterprise (SME) lending; even if demand for that type of credit isn’t there it doesn’t automatically translate into a reduced demand for mortgages. The point being that we can’t compare SME loans/business loan demand to that for mortgage credit.

Secondly is ‘what constitutes a refusal’, and this is where common sense diverges. Even the bank accept that if you seek €200,000 and are only offered €100,000 that it is a loan not fit for purpose, this even goes …

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The first time buyer conundrum, to buy or not to buy?

At the moment in Ireland there is a conundrum for first time buyers: should you buy now and potentially over-pay on purpose?

It’s an unusual one and it partly related to property prices, it is a combination of taxation changes that will occur from the start of 2012 and expectations of interest rate changes from both banks and the ECB.

The argument of ‘rent or buy‘ is well established, we produced report on it with Peter Stafford (now of the IAVI/SCS) and Frank Quinn of Senior College Dun Laoghaire, but this is different – buy now or buy later isn’t taking the default of renting as an assumed continuous option, rather it is a case of delaying for the sake of market timing.

The changes in tax are on the tax expenditure side, namely TRS (tax relief at source).

Currently it is applicable to a maximum of €10,000 p.a. and the rates applicable are …

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Primetime: Housing & Mortgage piece, 5th October 2010

We were delighted to appear on RTE’s Primetime with Miriam O’Callaghan, whe I converted the video the sync went weird so you can find the original here.

Primetime looked at the property market news of a 40% drop in prices from peak to date and after the package piece they had an ‘in studio’ piece. The debate centred around property and mortgages as well as some of the issues regarding negative equity.

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Brokers back on a level playing field, five floors down.

Recently brokers have been accused of having a financial incentive to place loans with certain banks, we cannot deny that he playing field was far from level, at one end some banks were paying 1% and others were paying 0.5%, the scene was set for commission based decisions, that isn’t to say they occurred – but having such income disparity certainly put the odds in favour of best advice being at risk.

So it is with depressed joy that we can say this situation no longer exists. Depressed because getting to this point has meant a 50% decrease in our gross income (while VAT has risen which hurts a zero VAT business like brokerage, and transactions as well as acquisition costs have risen, along with increased lead times and processing hours in order to get cases approved), but joy because the air has been officially cleared surrounding intermediaries, we are essentially back to a level playing field on the commissions front.

At or near the 50 basis point procurement fee is where all of the major lenders who deal with …

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Round 2

With the Dow back above 10,000, the message from many on Wall Street is: Hurry! The recovery train is leaving the station! Don’t miss out on the next phase of the bull market!

Not so fast, says Robert Prechter, president of Elliott Wave International and author of Conquer the Crash.

“Everybody who’s saying ‘buy stocks’ today or ‘buy real estate’ is, I think, setting up people to get really hurt,” says Prechter, who believes the bear market rally is reaching a major top.

“We had a great opportunity at [S&P] 667 – that was the big opportunity,” says Prechter, who did make a bullish call last February. “The market is up 60% [from the March lows]. There’s no way the S&P is going up 60% from here.”

Prechter’s advice for most investors, as described in the recently released second edition of his book, is fairly simple:

Play it Safe: Keep as much of your assets as possible in cash and cash equivalents, Prechter recommends, stressing not all money market funds and bank CDs …

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What do banks want when you apply for a mortgage?

Sometimes I ask the folks in the office about the questions they are asked by clients they are dealing with at the time, often it will result in comments like ‘the usual’… ‘How much can I borrow? What’s the best rate etc.’ and while that is true, another question often asked is one that is implied but not directly a question.

‘What do banks want from me when I am making a mortgage application?’

The answer, in the sense of principles, is that that they are looking for a way of determining your ability to repay a debt, some mathematics is used, some gut instinct often plays a part too, qualitative is mixed with quantitative.

Banks use different general mortgage calculators and these use your financial information to give different brackets of lending outcomes. In looking at your p60 they try to establish a year on year figure for your earnings, if you got a raise in the interim (if you did recently you are a rarity!) then …

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The numbness of the bottom

When bad news stops having an effect then it is a sign that we may be approaching the bottom, if that bottom is an L shape or a U shape is down to how the crisis continues to pan out. However, the acceleration of the decline has been so rapid that unlike the depression, we are seeing wealth wiped out much faster, in the late 20’s early 30’s the drop in the Dow went from 343 to 71 over the course of three years, today the Dow went from 14,000 to 6,900 in just over a year. That same 50% drop took more than a year and a half from 29′ to 31′ (the crisis accelerated after that). However, an important difference between now and then is that the state sponsored institutions didn’t exist, such as state supported medical care and social welfare.

Bearing this in mind what can we determine of the near term future? For a start, bad news is no longer effecting share prices the way they normally would, a …

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Some past market performance figures

Naturally past economic cycles don’t tell us exactly what will happen in the future, but as Mark Twain once said ‘history doesn’t repeat itself but it does rhyme’. And for that reason it is worth looking at some key figures from the past, showing that often the gains in bull markets are all found at the cusp of a bear market.

The stock market generally reacts before consumers and the real economy do and equally it will generally see recovery before them as well. Taking a view of the 20th century markets we can see the following:

In the recession of 1926 to 1927 the market increased by 41%. The years of 1933 to 1937 saw some of the most impressive gains ever in the S&P 500. The eight month recession of 1945 saw markets rise 19.5%, the eleven month recession of 1948-49 saw the markets go up 15.2%. Again in 1953-1954 the ten month recession ended with a market that rose 24.2%.

Any reader will note that much of these ‘gains’ did …

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‘Thrift’ and why it will be the next fashionable trend

If the Celtic Tiger brought the fashion of consumption and SUV’s then certainly the polar opposite will come true in a downturn, and that will be the emergence of ‘Thrift’ as a way of doing things. Today we will look at some popular thrift websites, as well as how recycling will come into play in the way we do things for the coming years.

The older generation must be secretly laughing at us, they were frugal and appreciated the value of money, I have heard this said on radio, the television, and even on the streets. I suppose it never hit me too much personally because I’m not a flash type of guy, I own a car but I cycle to work (partly due to my feelings on environmental responsibility and party because its faster than sitting in traffic), I could afford nicer clothes but I don’t feel the need to be impressive in that department so my banged up civvies will suffice (as far as I’m concerned). …

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'Thrift' and why it will be the next fashionable trend

If the Celtic Tiger brought the fashion of consumption and SUV’s then certainly the polar opposite will come true in a downturn, and that will be the emergence of ‘Thrift’ as a way of doing things. Today we will look at some popular thrift websites, as well as how recycling will come into play in the way we do things for the coming years.

The older generation must be secretly laughing at us, they were frugal and appreciated the value of money, I have heard this said on radio, the television, and even on the streets. I suppose it never hit me too much personally because I’m not a flash type of guy, I own a car but I cycle to work (partly due to my feelings on environmental responsibility and party because its faster than sitting in traffic), I could afford nicer clothes but I don’t feel the need to be impressive in that department so my banged up civvies will suffice (as far as I’m concerned). …

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