Irish Times article featuring Irish Mortgage Brokers

Conor Pope from the Irish Times had an interesting article on lending restrictions and did a good piece on it in today’s paper. In the piece he quoted Karl Deeter from Irish Mortgage Brokers on his views about the effect of the Central Bank rules on the property market.

“Karl Deeter, a mortgage broker and keen observer of the property market, has written an extensive report on Dublin’s boom-and-bust cycles spanning 300 years. He is not one of the Central Bank’s cheerleaders, and he is unconvinced that the 2015 scheme deserves much credit.

“I don’t think the new rules have had any real impact on the house market despite how it might be characterised,” he says.

Deeter points to an International Monetary Fund study of six countries that introduced lending restrictions. The report indicated that the rules made little difference, he says.

“In the credit market the rules have caused a fair bit of chaos. But I think prices were going to slow down anyway. We are in the middle of a property cycle, and cycles …

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Fixed rate comparison Ireland

When it comes to fixed mortgage rates in Ireland there is a little confusion, the first being about ‘whether to fix or not’ and secondly, if by doing so will you lose out should Irish lenders choose to lower their mortgage rates.

The simple answer is that if you fix your mortgage you may win or lose depending on what rates do, but that is missing the point of why you fix to begin with. It provides you with certainty of payments and often there is a premium due because of this, in simple terms, you pay a bit more for the ‘fixed’ assurance.

Below is a list of some of the best fixed rates in Ireland as well as who offers them.

Best 3yr fixed rate: 3.6% offered by PTsb and Bank of Ireland

(note: you can get better again by going with KBC and opening an account which gets you 3.55%)

Best 5yr fixed rate: 3.8% offered by Ulsterbank, BOI and Haven/AIB

These are ‘tiered variable rates’ meanining you have to have a low loan to value or …

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What is happening with fixed rates?

We have been asked a few times about fixed mortgage rates and why they are lower than standard variable rates at the moment.

This has been going on for a few months in the mortgage market and the reason is fairly simple, lending rates are going to drop over time.

The one year fixed rate has traditionally been one that is used to attract business to a bank or building society. They are often a loss leading rate and after availing of it the person goes onto a higher rate or another fixed rate so we have to strip them out.

But from the 2yr rate onwards you normally paid a premium over and above the standard variable rate. So what is happening?

Lower fixed rates mean that banks are going to capture a margin that is likely to decline in the near future. The Euro yield curve is below.

What you see is that it is negative (below zero) for many years into the future, in fact, it’s only hitting …

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KBC launch a ‘quick approval’ process

For a while we have seen competition starting to heat up a little in the mortgage market. Several moves recently have started to demonstrate this further, Bank of Ireland have their ‘pay you to borrow from us’ campaign, KBC had a ‘pay you to switch’ along with rates that beat everybody else.

Now they (KBC) have launched a quick approval process which aims to cut down the time it takes to get approved which at it’s worst was taking up to four weeks with some banks. This is only for an approval in principle, which isn’t worth much (not like a loan offer is) but it is the first step in the mortgage process in terms of getting meaningful feedback from a lender.

They have a first time buyer 1yr fixed rate of 3.5%, short term fixed rates are where banks tend to go to attract business as the first year costs are what many buyers are fixated on rightly or wrongly.

There is one bank rumoured to be considering a return to brokerage, another who shut operations considering re-opening …

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Boom or bubble and will it bust or burst?

This is a piece that Karl wrote for the Irish Sun, it relates to a piece that was the lead story for the paper last week.

(Begins)

There is a lot of talk that we have a ‘property bubble forming’, with virtually no supply, a growing population and a trend towards smaller households as things like separation and divorce become more common, it simply lacks ‘bubble’ qualifications.

But it does have ‘boom’ written all over it, we have had many such booms and busts in Irish history, I have spent much of the last two years researching just this very thing with Frank Quinn from Blackrock College of Further Education.

We have had many price rises and falls in the last 300 years, often we saw that after a crash the next boom would result in overcrowding because back then, as now, supply became ‘short’ in the areas that it was needed.

A boom is about rapid price appreciation, it doesn’t mean you have a bubble. You could have the price of anything boom and there wouldn’t be a bubble, …

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Best mortgage rates September 2012

Mortgage rates are constantly under review and even though we might be expecting an ECB rate cut this week to 0.5% (which will be a historic low) it is highly likely that rates will sit still or even rise. The conundrum for consumers is about the rate choice, banks have just upped rates prior to any rate cut and by doing this then not passing on a rate cut they actually increase their margin significantly.

The best mortgage rates at present are below:

<50% LTV: AIB 3.34% >80% LTV: AIB 3.79% 1yr fixed: AIB 4.15% 2yr fixed: BOI 4.49% 5yr fixed: PTsb 3.7%*

*The PTsb 5 year fixed rate is a good example of a pricing discrepancy that is related to the PTsb loan book, this rate is excellent, lower than the standard AIB variable and fixed for 5 years! The reason for this is that by lending on this type of property PTsb will increase their assets (to fix the loan to deposit ratio that is too high) quicker and in return they will give up some margin.

If …

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Why a borrower bailout is not likely

The EBS is on the block and there have been countless headlines regarding the idea that debts might get written down by Wilbur Ross if the Cardinal Capital group (who he is backing) are the successful bidder. I have said that I doubt this will happen and will set out why in this post.

EBS carried out a PCAR (prudential capital assessment requirement) test in March 2010, it showed that they required €875 million in funding to come up to scratch. Thus far they received €100m in cash from the state and a further €250m in a promissory note leaving a gap of €525m to fill. The bids being touted are in the region of €550m meaning that whoever buys in is effectively bridging the gap and paying a small premium as well.

Take a look at a balance sheet and you’ll see that no matter what happens, that in the end assets=liabilities. That is an accounting identity, in our example we have a hypothetical bank which has assets and liabilities worth (for example sake) €100 million Euro.

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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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RTE 9 O’Clock News with Martina Fitzgerald, 22nd April 2010

Martina Fitzgerald of RTE 9 O’Clock news did a piece on the Government backed lender Home Choice Loan, critiquing the fact that they have only advanced 5 mortgages since their inception in autumn of 2008. Home Choice Loan was set up to alleviate the absence of lending in the Irish mortgage market but it has failed to do this which is evident in the numbers.

We believe that Home Choice Loan does have a very relevant and meaningful role in the mortgage market, but not in the guise of being another lender competing with the rest of the high street, rather in facilitating people in negative equity or arrears.

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