TV3 Morning Show featureing Irish Mortgage Brokers and MyHome.ie

TV3 The Morning Show with Sybil and Martin from Irish Mortgage Brokers on Vimeo.

We were delighted to feature on TV3’s ‘Morning Show with Sybil and Martin’ on their monthly property slot alongside Angela Keegan from MyHome.ie

In the piece we discussed the property market as well as the financial side of it and how changes to both interest rates and taxation changes could affect buyers in the future.

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Bank cost of funds versus mortgage prices

Eurodollar or LIBOR cost of funds is a common phrase in banking, what does it mean or do though?

Banks borrow short term and lend out long term, they call it ‘maturity transformation’ and in doing so they aim to make a mark up on the money, it’s the same concept that a shop uses in selling cartons of milk, fundamentally the idea is the same.

The LIBOR rate is ‘London interbank offer rate’ and represents the cost of funds for a high quality non-governmental institutional borrower.

To get an idea of the cost of funds (and this is currently speculative because Irish banks don’t get offered funds at Euribor [euro equivalent of Libor]) all you have to do is a simple calculation.

We know that banks tend to use three month money and that means that any calculation will always have the interest rate reduced by multiplying it by 90/360 (3 months = 90 days, and 360 = 1 year [I know that in real life 1 year is 365 days but that small change of 5 days gives …

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KBC move to 90% LTV

This is a very healthy sign for the mortgage market, and in our opinion it could mean that 2010 might mark the low point for credit that we have been watching out for.

In 2009 KBC under-lent, they had €1bn and didn’t lend out anywhere near that, they are also here to stay, and prior to the crisis they had about 1/8th of the market share. The fact that they are rolling out a higher loan to value is a very confident sign that

Banks have a few internal policy tools to control lending 1.    Curtailing the amount of lending – we see that already, mortgage lending is about 85% down from the peak of 40bn p.a. , peak wasn’t exactly a gauge of normal, but half of that would be normal, and even on that basis it’s down 75% – that story still has to play out 2.    Rate increases: this has the same effect as central bank rate increases, it reduces lending and everybody has increased their margins by at least 1% in the last year, you and …

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‘Plan B’ for arrears

There is a strange situation occurring in the Irish property market, arrears are rising rapidly, stock of repossessed homes is on the increase, and yet the number of repossessions is dropping; there is a contradiction in here somewhere.

Per quarter the number of properties being repossessed is dropping, banks are taking back fewer and fewer houses, this would normally be a sign of prosperity, people with jobs and a stable property market would mean that there would be some equity in the property as people pay down debt and are able to afford their payments, but that isn’t the case, quite the opposite, Irish households are heavily indebted and arrears are rapidly rising.

The largest number of properties being taken back is actually that of voluntary surrender (and abandonment), so there is no ‘repossession’ monster lurking in the Irish market because we have decided that we don’t want it to exist, this will come at a cost as we incrementally strip banks of their ability to enforce mortgage contracts.

The stock of property …

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Irish Property Investor Report: Spring 2010

We are pleased to release our new Irish Property Investor Report for the Spring of 2010 (click on the picture to view it). The people that put it together this time were Frank Quinn (IPAV), Lecturer in Valuations at Senior College Dun Laoghaire and Irish Mortgage Brokers.

The property figures were provided by PropertyWeek.ie (who also run a non-practitioner site at MyHat.ie) and a critique of the report and methodology (which we deemed  necessary in the spirit of balance) was carried out by Iain Nash.

The news is not positive, we have determined, using our valuation methods; that property as an investment is still unattractive in the spring of 2010, in order for it to make sense prices would need to fall significantly in our major cities in the range of about 39% on average.

Having said that, this report looks at averages and it can’t …

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Are banks lending?

A highly debated element of the recapitalisations to date and the NAMA debate have to do with credit flow, that if banks are given money that they will start to lend it out, the problem being that we currently have a rapid credit contraction.

The new Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield made his first public appearance since arriving nearly three months ago, and he said “A robust recapitalisation exercise will ensure that Ireland’s banks start this process in a stronger position and with a better funding outlook”. He is alluding to the thing that many people are forgetting, that when a bank has as high loan to deposit ratio they naturally hoard credit during times of widespread credit deterioration in order to ensure they have sufficient capital to face the impairments.

NAMA won’t ‘force lending out’, this is the aspect of fiscal policy not being able to ‘push on a string’, fiscal and monetary policy can pull a string and reign credit …

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Why does a state owned bank subsidise depositors?

There is concept in finance of a ‘risk free rate’, and normally that is seen as being the rate of return on money by a sovereign entity (in our case it’s Ireland), so in a rational market it should always be the case that anything with an implicit state guarantee should pay far less than those without it, because those without it have to reward investors by offering more in order to attract them.

Oddly, in Ireland the institutions implicitly backed by the state are actually paying over the odds, and in effect that means a transfer is occurring from tax-payer to depositor, in short, we are being ripped off when our sovereign guarantee is not factored into pricing.

For example: Anglo Irish Bank are paying 3.1% for a demand account, this means you can take your money out whenever you want, BOI, AIB, INBS, NIB and many others are paying a mere 0.1% meaning that Anglo are paying a full 300 basis points or 3% more than competitors who …

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The day I mis-sold an insurance policy

About five years ago I had a couple in with me who were buying a home, I was helping them to determine their insurance needs and I realised that they had literally no protection if either of them ever fell seriously ill – not via their job/employer schemes or individually. So I suggested that they consider some serious illness cover, it would have cost them about €20 a month but they were insistent that they only wanted what was ‘cheapest and nothing more’.

As an adviser, it isn’t my job to always accept what people say they want because often, with adequate probing and understanding they actually want something entirely different, a skewed but simple way of understanding what I mean is that when saving or investing the majority of people want ‘high growth and high security’ – when in fact, these two features are normally night and day, if there ever was an asset that could deliver high growth with deposit account style security then everybody would pile in and the market would adjust accordingly, therefore you need to …

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