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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Property prices, are we near the bottom?

Are property prices bottoming?

there are a few reasons why some commentators feel we are going to start to see recovery.

1. Many New Developments have slashed their prices to stimulate demand: True, having said that, when all sites start to do this in tandem it creates a new low, similar to the paradox of deleveraging in some ways. The current buyer sentiment can be boiled down to this – the people buying are doing so in areas they desire not in ‘areas where property happens to be for sale’ and for that reason we are likely to see further price drops in new build and less in the second hand market. Developers are also starting to chop prices further as they near liquidation, in talking to some they have said that they know various developments are not going to sell so they are talking to the bank about what price is acceptable because the loss is coming one way or the other.

2. Interest Rate reductions have made mortgages a …

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Drop in Fixed Mortgage Rates likely

In watching the movements of the Euribor Yield Curve we saw that margins were likely to increase on fixed rates, however, over the month of April we are seeing the yield curve drop below levels seen at the start of the month and that will likely result in a repricing of debt.

What we are seeing is the increasingly bearing outlook feeding through to interbank rates with the expectation of the May cut showing a strong likelyhood of going too 1%, that is why the 1 month money has actually dropped below that mark when earlier in the month it was slightly above it.

The yield curve is generally feeding the market information about inflation and it would appear that after the May rate decrease that the medium term outlook is depressed. The lines hold a tight margin until the two year mark at which point the earlier curve trends higher and today’s keeps that c.20bip difference. Fixed rates don’t always change with rate drops because they are priced off of …

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Some quick thoughts on inflation.

There are a few things that concern me regarding inflation, I have listed them as bullet points.

1. Paul Volcker said that he is concerned with the Fed and Treasury seeking ‘the amount of inflation conducive to recovery’. 2. Bank of England are engaged in Quantitative Easing (fancy talk for ‘Printing Money’), they had a failed bond this week as well which means they will (the UK) have to reassess their par on bond offerings. That means paying more to get the money, to service these loans they will likely devalue Sterling further. This matched with increased money supply will bring inflation to the UK. 3. Increased inflation risk is being priced into bonds. 4. Investment houses are increasingly driving people towards resources as a hedge against inflation because inflation doesn’t reward savers, it rewards those holding assets.

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Preventing Inflation

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The common view (my own included!) is that there will be some serious inflation coming down the line, the valid point raised here is that all of the liquidity is currently trapped in many mechanisms from deleveraging to recapitalising financial institutions. The hard hand to play will be that of timing with taking the right moves, which frankly doesn’t inspire me hence my belief that we will not get it right and the inflation will come one way or the other! Having said that, it is vital to accept and consider all counterpoints and this is an easily understood one.

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The end of Commissions?

The FSA (Financial Services Authority) in the UK have said that they are not ruling out a future ban on commissions. In the UK financial advisers work on both fees and commissions, however, there is no mention of how they would hope to balance the competition between broker and direct channels.

Currently there are many consumers who cannot afford fees, in Ireland financial advisers work (in general) without fees, relying on commissions for their incomes.  In Ireland consumers have gotten used to a market where they don’t pay brokers, they enjoy independent advice at no difference in cost to that of going through a direct channel (i.e.: walking into a bank where they cannot give you independent advice).

However, if, in the morning the Financial Regulator followed the lead of the FSA and tried to end commissions it would cause a huge market distortion because peoples attitudes to fees would actually drive them out of …

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