Everybody pays, even the innocent

There were many innocent parties to the credit fuelled property bubble, they are generally those who didn’t borrow, or who carried no debt, choosing instead to live frugally, and if they used debt they used it wisely. Many of these people are at the polar ends of the age spectrum, very young (who don’t even have access to credit) or much older (who have paid off their mortgages), something we will all need to get used to though is the fact that everybody is going to pay for the mess left behind, this goes farther than NAMA.

The process I am describing is already under way, the very payments system (our financial infrastructure), is going to be used to generate economic rent from the people of Ireland in order to bring in more profit to banks so that they can repair their balance sheets. This price will be paid by the taxpayer outside of the bailout money already being supplied on our behalf. This will be even paid by people who manage to …

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Mortgage options down 50% as of 2010

The Examiner carried a story about the number of options available to borrowers in the present market and the fact that they have dropped over 50% since 2008.

In 2008 there were 380 different mortgages available on the market across all banks and all rate suites, today, that number rests at 179 meaning that at least 50% of the choice is gone. That is also reflective of the fact that so many lenders have exited the market. Below is a list of several who are no longer lending here.

Halifax Fresh Mortgages Springboard Stepstone Nua Homeloans First Active GE Money Leeds

Many of these providers were in the non-prime/specialist/sub-prime category, however, a drop of 50% in choice doesn’t mean that there are no options left. Certainly tracker mortgages are a thing of the past as are Standard Variables (referring to new business for these products, existing clients will keep their existing product).

The other factor that makes this less spectacular is that many lenders replicate offerings, so when each lender pulled out, their two year fixed …

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USA: Failed mortgage modification programme

Kudlow talks to Christian Weller, Center for American Progress and Dan Mitchell, Cato Institute on the topic of debt relief and mortgages in the USA, the argument for straight out write-downs on mortgages is compelling, and yet so too is the argument for allowing the market to work. Sometimes believing in the free market is seen as a ‘dirty thing’, but the side effect of trying to manage an economy from every aspect is also a bad thing (look no further than the former Eastern Bloc). Somewhere in the middle is a fair and sustainable path, but ideology bias is usually in the way before the conversation passes go, for that reason you will favour one speaker over the other quite often from the outset. However, ideology doesn’t actually get results, it is merely the platform from which a concept is launched and the better path would be to have an operational model to prove the point – although that isn’t always practical.

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Where are interest rates headed?

While we often see opinions about interest rates given by various commentators, I think the most telling indication is often that of the market, the point at which rates are settling at in prices is available at any time by looking at the Euribor Yield Curve, below is the chart for today.

The idea that rates will probably stay c. 1% until well into 2010 is only partially priced in, you can see the yield curve crossing the 1% mark at 6 months (which would be May 2010) – this however, is the Euribor and does have margin factored in, currently the margin over ECB is c. 25 basis points so the 1% base would cross when the graph above is at c. 1.25%. and that is the part that brings us to the latter half of 2010. The yield curve is live and dynamic so it could change at any time, either flattening or inverting. The reasoning behind where interest rates are going is a science in itself, and one that …

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Mortgage Questions: I am not in permanent employment. Can I get a mortgage?

Answer: If you are not in Permanent employment no mainstream mortgage lender will consider a mortgage application from you, while that may sound harsh, it reflects the reality in lending that the main thing a lender needs is security that the borrower has the capacity to pay back the loan in the future. Sub-prime Lender Start Mortgages may consider an application, but if you opt for a specialist lender you will pay  for it via the margin on their lending, they take on risky applications but they charge accordingly. The maximum loan they will lend is 75% of the purchase price. This type of application is assessed on a case by case basis & will depend on the length of your contract served etc. the length of contract remaining and your previous employment history.

However, to give a short concise answer – generally banks won’t lend to you if you are not in permanent employment, this is a question you will be asked by your mortgage adviser and it also appears on your salary cert.

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Who gets the best deals on insurance? (depends who you ask!)

The Financial Regulator regularly does ‘cost surveys’ to help the Irish public determine what the best deals are on the market, it would seem that in some cases they are actually driving people directly to certain insurers because they don’t survey the whole market! Indeed, as this weeks Sunday Times article by Niall Brady shows, Brokers were able to beat the ‘best price’ quoted by the regulator in almost every example, and it wasn’t only by a few cent either! In one case it was about €500 per annum, and in many others it was €100 p.a. – now on the other hand, if a broker went and made a person pay that much more than they had to then they’d be lynched, but when the regulator does it’s just an ‘oversight’… Quis costodiet ipsos custodes? Click on the picture below if you want to see a larger more readable version of it.

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The US obsession with home ownership

This is an interesting clip from the Cato Institute and it covers the various vectors of the financial crisis. In this video the speaker talks about the ‘7 steps to failure’ – the basis of the talk is well covered ground at this stage but the addition of the Cato presentation is meaningful and offers some angles that are not commonly considered.

Johan Norberg is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a writer who focuses on globalization, entrepreneurship, and individual liberty.

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How much of a deposit do I need?

When making a mortgage application this is a question that many first time buyers want to know, how much money do I must I have for a deposit? Well, that kind of depends on which bank provides the mortgage finance!

Lending criteria is different for every bank/building society/lender, this goes for rates, the general underwriting criteria as well as the ‘loan to value‘, the deposit you need is 100% minus the Maximum LTV and that will give you the deposit amount you require. For instance, ICS have a maximum LTV of 92% so the deposit you need – if you are obtaining finance through them – is 100% – 92% = 8%.

What is interesting in that example is that when you go ‘sale agreed’ on a property the estate agent will ask for a security deposit and the balance of 10% at the signing of contracts, this is an example …

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