Making sense of ‘help to buy’

Yesterday Revenue announced the details of the new ‘help to buy’ scheme. It is designed to make buying a home more realistic for first time buyers and to increase the supply of new homes. Whether it’s a good or bad idea is beside the point, what most people want to know is how it works so here’s the breakdown.

It’s a scheme to allow first time buyers buying a new home to get a rebate of up to 5% of the purchase price or contract price (whichever is the lower) from income tax and DIRT tax paid in the past four tax years to a maximum of €20,000. The property must cost less than €500,000 or 600k for retrospective applications, the size of the loan versus the value of the property must also be 70% or more.

So, for every €100,000 of value you must be borrowing at least €70,000 the idea being that very cash rich buyers don’t need this help. It started on the 19th of July 2016 and goes until the 31 Dec 2019.

Now that it’s …

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Sunday Independent: Irish Mortgage Brokers mentioned in housing article

We were happy to see that our concern about social engineering was mentioned in an article in the Sunday Independent by Brendan O’Connor, the quote is below.

Or does the Central Bank think it’s desirable? And why has the Central Bank taken it upon itself to decide that Irish people should move to renting property rather than buying their own house? Mortgage broker Karl Deeter has suggested the Central Bank is indulging in social engineering. What other shifts in how we live would the Central Bank like to introduce you wonder. Perhaps a one-child policy?

The issue of social engineering was first raised by us in the consultation process when it began in 2014, specifically we said this was a concern in the following two quotes taken from our submission:

This policy will ensure that many people fall prey to a policy that in protecting banks hurts their future wealth. We are, and will remain, strongly opposed to measures that have societal engineering outcomes such as this.

And later we also said that

For people who don’t have rich parents …

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The rich will prosper when the rules make sure they do.

We have been critics of the Central Bank mortgage lending caps, believing instead that a rule similar to section 149 of the Consumer Credit Act could be used on underwriting to ensure that banks can’t find any way to loosen standards rather than employing ‘hard caps’.

What’s more, it has kept many people out, caused a chaotic 4th quarter and ensures that well off people are unaffected while those most harmed are the less well off. Our submission to CP87 was ignored in its entirety but that doesn’t matter because the results speak for themselves.

Mortgage lending is still mainly going to first time buyers, 57% of draw-downs were to first time buyers, but then look at the income multiple and you see that this is nearly five times average earnings.

What does that mean? For a start, that people on high wages with high savings were doing a lot of the lending, of course that’s fine because it was always a case that they had access to credit.

The issue is more …

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A critique of the new Central Bank and CCMA measures

This article appeared in the Sunday Business Post on the 17th of March 2013

A senior banker described the new rules introduced by the Government and Central bank as ‘a charter for the obvious’ because ‘banks need to become banks not terminal collections companies’, and while some are quick to lend support or decry it as a travesty, we should instead look at the factual impact the new targets and code of conduct on mortgage arrears will actually have.

Policy makers say it is a leap forward, debtor lobbyists say it is nothing short of throwing borrowers to the wolves, both are wrong, its just a new set of trade off’s.

Being able to repossess a property is normal in any housing market, ‘bans’, ‘delays’ or ‘moratoriums’ on repossessions have been used in several nations (Czech Republic, Russia, Hungary, Ireland and the USA) and are government lead. In our case it was Government lead until the Dunne ruling in 2011 hard wired it into law. This must be reversed, it is …

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11 Mortgage tips

Being a first time buyer actively looking to purchase a home is often a daunting situation, often made worse by the unknown. While some people find it a painless process others have personal circumstances or lifestyle habits which stack the odds against them which they are not even aware of.

That is why we have made a list of eleven tips that first time buyer should be aware of prior to applying for a mortgage, because if you only find out about them after you make your application (and in particular if it results in a credit decline) then it could set you back months at least if not years.

1. Be in a permanent job finished probation and ideally working continuously for 2 years: This is a good rule of thumb, an ability to repay is the key consideration with lenders, and the way they determine this by seeing an income history that has a likelihood of continuing. A loan is only underwritten once, at origination, so the lender knows that taking a chance early on means taking a …

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Bank cost of funds versus mortgage prices

Eurodollar or LIBOR cost of funds is a common phrase in banking, what does it mean or do though?

Banks borrow short term and lend out long term, they call it ‘maturity transformation’ and in doing so they aim to make a mark up on the money, it’s the same concept that a shop uses in selling cartons of milk, fundamentally the idea is the same.

The LIBOR rate is ‘London interbank offer rate’ and represents the cost of funds for a high quality non-governmental institutional borrower.

To get an idea of the cost of funds (and this is currently speculative because Irish banks don’t get offered funds at Euribor [euro equivalent of Libor]) all you have to do is a simple calculation.

We know that banks tend to use three month money and that means that any calculation will always have the interest rate reduced by multiplying it by 90/360 (3 months = 90 days, and 360 = 1 year [I know that in real life 1 year is 365 days but that small change of 5 days gives …

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Are banks lending?

A highly debated element of the recapitalisations to date and the NAMA debate have to do with credit flow, that if banks are given money that they will start to lend it out, the problem being that we currently have a rapid credit contraction.

The new Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield made his first public appearance since arriving nearly three months ago, and he said “A robust recapitalisation exercise will ensure that Ireland’s banks start this process in a stronger position and with a better funding outlook”. He is alluding to the thing that many people are forgetting, that when a bank has as high loan to deposit ratio they naturally hoard credit during times of widespread credit deterioration in order to ensure they have sufficient capital to face the impairments.

NAMA won’t ‘force lending out’, this is the aspect of fiscal policy not being able to ‘push on a string’, fiscal and monetary policy can pull a string and reign credit …

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