EBS rate hikes, the benefit of mutuality?

EBS have announced a rate hike of 0.6% which is a follow on from their last 0.6% hike that was levied against variable rate mortgage holders on the 1st of May, this brings their margin increases to a total of 1.2% for the year to date.

Today’s Indo lead with this story (by Charlie Weston) and rightly pointed out that by the time this is over, a person with a €300,000 mortgage over 30 years could expect to pay just over €3,000 a year (after tax) in increased mortgage payments. For a person on the average industrial wage this is like a full months wages before tax being sucked away by the financial system. Tax hikes and wage cuts aside, this will ultimately reduce the money that is being spent in the economy and it will disappear into the financial system where banks will use it to de-lever further.

The contention for many people is that they are being punished, not for what they have done …

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Primetime 2nd February 2010: Mortgage Market Focus

Primetime took a look at the mortgage market situation in Ireland on the 2nd of February, they spoke to various industry experts as well as people on the street about their feelings on the situation. The clips below are well worth watching.

In this clip Primetime spoke to people on the street, and the general opinion was one of empathy for borrowers in trouble but the overall tone was that people didn’t necessarily want to step in and have their tax money going to bail them out. Then David Murphy interviews an anonymous borrower who is in debt trouble, as well as getting the opinion of Irish Mortgage Brokers Operations Manager Karl Deeter and Paul Joyce of the Free Legal Aid Centre (FLAC).

In the second video Pat Farrell of the IBF (Irish Bankers Federation), Stephen Kinsella (Lecturer of economics at University Limerick, and author of ‘Ireland in 2050), Pauline Blackwell of FLAC (free legal advice centre) and Ciaran Cuffe of the Green Party talk to Miriam O’Callaghan about the issues of debt and the solutions for solving …

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Mortgage questions: broker fees

Q: I am a first time buyer and am hoping to purchase a property this year with my partner who is also a first time buyer. I was just enquiring what are your fees for your service and what does the process involve?

A: Generally we don’t charge fees. We are paid commission by the Mortgage Lender and Insurance Company you choose to proceed with. We will advise you what each Lender and Insurer has to offer and try to secure the deal that suits your needs.

When you have chosen a suitable property we will take you through the process from putting down your booking deposit through to getting the keys to your new home.

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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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The investment method of property valuations.

I recently enjoyed the company of IPAV lecturer Frank Quinn and during our time together we discussed the Irish property market and more importantly that of valuations, he explained that while the investment method of valuations is virtually unused in Irish property that it is relevant, not only for investment properties but also for residential housing.

First it is important to realise that there are two broad ways of valuing a property, the first is where you value at the ‘market’ price, in an upward market this can have the issue of pushing values higher as bidders vie to outdo each other on comparable properties, in a downward market it can be equally distorting, but in a fairly stagnant market the absence of transactions is, of itself a distortion, estate agents can’t look at their own back book of sales for information if that back book is empty.

It is therefore desirable at times, to use the valuation method, it is a simple way of viewing property valuations,  it does tend to …

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Get ahead of the curve on fixed rates… Oops! Too late!

We have been touting fixed rates for quite some time on the basis that people needed to fix at the time rates were heading for historic lows, not after the fact, as well as that, the indications from the ECB that they would not go below 1% and instead would seek alternative options (such as QE) meant that once we got close to the 1% the forward market would price that in, but when we actually reached the 1% base that equally the forward market would price in rising rates.

That is exactly what has happened, it wasn’t front page news when we said it, although the Sunday Times did do a big story in their business section in mid-February, but now that banks are starting to raise their interest rates it certainly is!

It gets back to planning, without exception every client we had that deliberately went for a fixed rate in the interim is in a good position, some who have opted for variable rates are doing well …

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ECB Base rate increased 0.25% to 4.25% today

The ECB (European Central Bank) changed its base rate today to 4.25% which is an increase of 0.25%, the previous base rate of 4% had been left unchanged since its inception in June of 2007.

The move, while not favoured by borrowers, is vital in order to control Eurozone inflation which has been running well above the ‘at or just below 2%’ level that the ECB has intended to adhere to. In the first quarter of the year many commentators were saying that they believed we would see a rate reduction in the summer, this blog on the other hand argued otherwise in articles which were posted in mid March and again in mid April. As recently as May professional commentators (our crew is more along the line of humble observers!) …

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First Time Buyers – What you need to know

If you are considering your first home then you should do a lot of research because today’s market is a tricky one, there is value to be found in 2008 if you look for it and know how to negotiate, however, for the naive it can also be fast method to part ways with your hard earned money.

Some developers are currently knocking up to €100,000 off the price of properties they are selling, this has gotten a lot of media attention, however it also begs the question ‘why?’, are we to believe that they suddenly want to help out first time buyers? Or are they trying to shift stock that they think won’t sell otherwise? The real question is whether properties were vastly over-priced and the prices reflected pure greed or is the developer being forced to sell due to financial reasons or what the underlying cause for something so drastic is.

If somebody offered me an iPod for €50 I’m not sure I’d be interested, I guess I’m a natural born skeptic. I’m not implying that houses with …

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