Synopsis of the ‘Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears’ February 2010

The Financial Regulator recently brought out a new code of conduct for mortgage arrears, the full length eight page document is here.

The code applies to: all of the regulated mortgage lenders in the state (this includes the sub-prime lenders), as well as all mortgage lenders operating here via other EU states (eg: Leeds Building Soc.)

It applies to consumers only, and only in respect of their principle private residence in the state. The code should be treated as an extension of the Consumer Protection Code.

Scope: The code covers finance for primary homes, lenders must adopt flexible procedures that aim to assist the borrower as far as possible. It sets out what the lenders must do in an arrears case but allows repossession where the code is not appropriate (fraud, breach of contract, abandonment). It doesn’t relieve the borrower from their duties to repay

Legal Background: S117 of the Central Bank Act 1989

Avoiding an arrears problem: Once …

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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 has the best mortgage rates?

The ‘best rate’ is a misnomer because interpretation of what is the ‘best’ is a subjective question, for a very conservative person a 10 year fixed rate is ‘the best’ and from that point the ‘best’ will likely be whatever is the cheapest ten year fixed rate, having said that, after careful consideration the best 10 year fixed rate mortgage might be one that allows you to pay off a lump sum during the fixed period without any penalty thereby ensuring that you can eat into your capital quicker, is a feature like that worth extra money each month if it isn’t the cheapest? To some people it may be, to others it isn’t.

If you are considering a property purchase and are not a cash buyer then you will need financing, and this comes at a ‘price’, the interpretation of that price is generally the rate, so which rate is better (we’ll assume you want a 1 year fixed rate), 2.5% or 2.6%? Naturally you’d be inclined to say it is …

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Have your say: On dealing with mortgage arrears

This post is hopefully a free for all on the topic of mortgage arrears. I would like to pose several questions, feel free to answer as you see fit.

1. For people in mortgage arrears, should they be helped? And if so then how?

2. Does the individual bear responsibility for their borrowing, and if so then is it correct to support that borrowing? Should a person ever be liable to repay help they receive in such an instance?

3. At what point should a person not be given help? And equally, when should financial help begin?

4. How would this be financed?

We look forward to your answers!

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Understanding why mortgage rates MUST rise.

We have been saying for some time that interest rates on mortgages must rise, you can look at supply and demand, or you can look at the types of products that have ceased to exist such as tracker mortgages (removing fixed margin loan products) and then there is the proliferation of variable LTV products which set the stage for the ability to manipulate margin on more loans. The question is ‘what all of this means’, and the purpose of this post is to explain how deposits, business lending and mortgages are all interconnected parts of the banking system and how margins are set based upon them.

Last week PTsb finally came out and said that they were considering an

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Supply, Demand, & Prices of Irish Property – A talk by Ronan Lyons

Ronan Lyons gave a talk to CFA Ireland on the 9th of July on the topic ‘Supply, Demand, & Prices in Irish Property’.

Ronan is one of the most respected voices on the property commentary circuit in Ireland due to his careful analysis and long term association with the nations largest property website daft.ie (from which he gathers his datasets).

This video (click here to go and watch the full play-list) is required viewing for anybody with an interest in the Irish property market.

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Are you getting your full tax relief?

There was an article in one of Ireland’s national newspapers last week describing the major issues surrounding the rescinding and subsequent re instatement of mortgage Interest relief. For those who are uninformed about this subject, mortgage interest relief (or TRS) was suspended pending the requirement for every person that previously claimed relief to re-apply for it. This was not a move intended to deprive anyone of their entitlements, more a housekeeping exercise to make sure that things are as they should be.

Thousands of Irish home owners had their tax relief temporarily suspended so that a general process of reassessment could take place whereby people would ascertain that whatever they were receiving in tax relief was correct. The Government spends millions every year on the TRS scheme, and with the exchequer being frightfully strained like Mary Hearney doing a triathlon, it was a necessary to ensure that the recipients of tax relief at source were indeed fully entitled to it.

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WE HAVE MOVED! To 33 Pearse Street.

We have moved our offices to a new location (still on Pearse Street) to 33 Pearse Street.  It’s about 250 metres towards the city centre from our old offices, and three doors down from O’Neills pub (everybody in Ireland seems to use pubs as landmarks!).

The new office decision came when our lease on our old office came up for review, we felt that there were deals to be had on the market and it didn’t make any sense to stay put, if you drive down Pearse Street aiming to go to the north side then you’ll have to pass our offices, its the place painted red and yellow.

Other than our location everything else has stayed the same (our broadband is temporarily down), you can email us at our regular email addresses and our phone number is still 01 679 0990. Individual broker direct dial phone numbers have changed but we’ll publish them soon on our website and make sure that everybody gets an email.

The blog will be back up to full speed as of next week and …

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The lower rates go, the worse it gets (for some)

There are winners and losers in every rate cut, so literally somebody, somewhere loses out every time, this can be the bank, a borrower or a saver. To a degree Jean Claude Trichet uses the euphemism ‘rate cut’ in place of the more accurate ghetto expression ‘bitch I’ll cut you!’, but ultimately there are those who get hurt.

Who exactly? Well, people on fixed rates who may want to break them are made worse off, people who are saving generally are made worse off too. And banks themselves are also hit on their margins when rates drop.

How does a lower rate affect these three situations?

Breaking a fixed rate: If you are on a fixed rate and want to break it then there is a breakage fee, this is one of the times under the Consumer Credit Act 1995 where a bank can hit you with fees for early redemption or changing to another rate, the examples we are seeing are all c. €20,000 so it’s serious …

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Will stimulus plans lead to disaster?

In this video which was featured on Yahoo! Tech Ticker Peter Schiff of EuroPacific argues that any additional stimulation of the economy or bailout packages will actually exacerbate the situation rather than remedy it. The outcome of the current economy will perhaps decide once and for all who holds the keys to recovery, the Keynesians or the Austrians.

The Keynesian solutions were fine tuned post-fact and this is the first time since the 1930’s that the theory is getting a real life test, in watching the Davos Debates one interesting factor is that Austrian Economics seems to be getting an equal amount of airplay. Stephen S. Roach said at Davos that we need to get on with the ‘heavy lifting’ where the global rebalance occurs, current account deficit nations have to start saving while current account surplus nations need to spend, this is the inverse of what Keynesians would perscribe because under their guide countries like the USA (deficit nation) need to spend their way out of …

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