Tracker mortgages: make sure you don’t miss out!

Yesterday the Examiner broke a story about tracker mortgage holders potentially missing out because they are not reading their terms and conditions. This is an issue we have seen first hand in our company, but it wasn’t due to not reading the terms and conditions, it was down to a bank error.

Recently Bank of Ireland had to put 2,000 accounts back on trackers after they mistakenly took them off and onto variable rates. AIB made the same mistake 214 times and PTsb did it 53 times.

In our own brokerages case we saw something similar recently with PTsb, they insisted to a client that no tracker was available. Then, only after the client remortgaged did they admit their error and offer it back. We represented the client in this case and insisted that all costs were also covered in reinstating the mortgage. This means paying solicitor fees, losses on clawbacks, breakage fees for the fixed rate undertaken etc.

Where this happens has tended to be where …

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Loan refusal statistics: what do they mean?

There are two sets of statistics floating around; on one hand you have the banks who claim that they are lending and also that the demand for credit simply isn’t there – a belief further expounded by John Trethowan. Then on the other hand you have the likes of PIBA who counter claim that 80% of applications are being refused.

So it is important to break down the vital components. First of all, the debate often centres around Small Medium Enterprise (SME) lending; even if demand for that type of credit isn’t there it doesn’t automatically translate into a reduced demand for mortgages. The point being that we can’t compare SME loans/business loan demand to that for mortgage credit.

Secondly is ‘what constitutes a refusal’, and this is where common sense diverges. Even the bank accept that if you seek €200,000 and are only offered €100,000 that it is a loan not fit for purpose, this even goes …

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Sunday Business Post: More haste less speed in the mortgage crisis

Angela Keegan of MyHome.ie wrote an opinion piece in the Sunday Business Post yesterday which included some of our firms commentary:

Figures compiled by Karl Deeter at Irish Mortgage Brokers showed that the size of the average first-time buyer mortgage peaked in the first quarter of 2008, at €251,000.

At the moment, the average drawdown is €188,000. According to Deeter, the ‘average mortgage’ from 2008 on a 2.1 per cent tracker costs €1,076 per month. Current TRS is €80 per month, so the net cost is €996.With the new, bigger TRS in the Programme for Government, the TRS will now be €119, resulting in a monthly payment of €957, an extra saving of €39 per month.

Compare that to the new first-time buyers, who will miss out on TRS. If they take out a loan for €188,000 at 4.3 per cent variable, their cost per month is €1,023.With rates likely to push up over 5 per cent, irrespective of the ECB, Deeter believes that, by this time next year, the divergence between the two mortgages could be as much as …

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News of the World: Money expert on Debt

IRELAND is in payback mode at the moment. As a country we’re experiencing “deleveraging”, which means that many people are using most of their money to pay back excessive borrowing. However, that practice only puts cash into the banking system and not the real economy.

This is because banks aren’t lending — they’re too busy using the cash to put out fires within their own institutions. There are 786,000 Irish households with a mortgage, and six per cent of them are in trouble. The vast majority of that six per cent haven’t paid the bank a single cent in more than six months.

SOLUTION

Our Government-led solution is to encourage that to continue. They’ve made it almost impossible for banks to repossess homes — Labour’s solution of a two-year moratorium on repossessions reeks of “delay and pray”. A further 24,000 mortgages have been restructured and are still not performing, while 35,000 are only staying afloat due to a change in their conditions — mainly by not paying back the loan, only servicing the …

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Irish Mortgage Brokers and MyHome.ie on TV3’s ‘The Morning Show’, 2nd March 2011

We were delighted to feature again on TV’s ‘The Morning Show with Sybil and Martin’ (although Brian was sitting in for Martin) on their monthly property slot.

This week we spoke about the necessity of price drops to get a property sold, it is likely the single most important factor, it is also overlooked that there is often a carry cost or opportunity cost loss if sellers don’t drop prices.

Next month we are likely to cover ’empties’, that will be a fascinating show worth tuning in for!

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The first time buyer conundrum, to buy or not to buy?

At the moment in Ireland there is a conundrum for first time buyers: should you buy now and potentially over-pay on purpose?

It’s an unusual one and it partly related to property prices, it is a combination of taxation changes that will occur from the start of 2012 and expectations of interest rate changes from both banks and the ECB.

The argument of ‘rent or buy‘ is well established, we produced report on it with Peter Stafford (now of the IAVI/SCS) and Frank Quinn of Senior College Dun Laoghaire, but this is different – buy now or buy later isn’t taking the default of renting as an assumed continuous option, rather it is a case of delaying for the sake of market timing.

The changes in tax are on the tax expenditure side, namely TRS (tax relief at source).

Currently it is applicable to a maximum of €10,000 p.a. and the rates applicable are …

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Property prices and property costs, they are not the same, so do you rent or buy?

We have seen a growing trend in our brokerage of people getting mortgage approvals (mainly first time buyers) and not drawing down, this might indicate some pent up demand in housing – which if it comes will be regular houses as opposed to apartments – or it indicates fear of buying in general.

The thing that is pervasive is the ‘price’ of housing, and the idea is to wait until we reach the bottom. That is a perfectly rational concept, and when you are not purchasing over a long term then the price now (we’ll take from financial market vernacular and call it the ‘spot price’ of housing) is the main thing to focus on.

However, that is only one part of the ‘price’ because the majority of new buyers are not buying for cash. The other price is the price of money, the financing costs. We indicated in our annual outlook that banks would, in 2011 alone, increase rates by a further 100bps or 1%, that any bank which isn’t government owned will have variable rates in the region …

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