IBF Latest Lending figures – what does a ratio tell us?

Yesterday good news was spreading about a year on year increase in new mortgages for home-owners, I debated the topic on TodayFM with Pat Farrell from the IBF. Figures are tricky to do on radio so I figured I might write something today, but got a surprise before the chance came when I saw the Irish Times article on the topic.

It isn’t like the Irish Times to get it wrong (personally, I take whatever the write as a virtual equivalent to gospel), but they did, today’s article states that we saw the first rise in mortgage loan numbers (we didn’t), and

The number of new mortgage loans issued during the second quarter rose on a year-on-year basis, the first time this has happened since early 2006.” (this would imply that lending grew or was larger YoY, it wasn’t).

The IBF/PwC Mortgage Market Profile reveals that a total of 3,225 new mortgages to …

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Every little helps (except when it means mortgages)

Tesco won’t be offering mortgages in Ireland despite rolling out a full host of financial services, this is also a departure from the UK proposition in which they are included, something we covered nearly four years ago.

Bothered? Maybe not, but you should be because any market with a functional duopoly is unhealthy, we saw for instance how AIB increased their rates and for 2 or 3 hours their prices were the same as BOI, but then BOI co-incidentally increased their rates by 25 basis points on the same day so the pricing difference occurred once again.

Why would Tesco decide not to enter the Irish market? They claim it’s regulation, one doesn’t need a Professional Diploma in Compliance to realise that much of our regulation is identical to the UK and in foundation is primarily based upon it, …

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Nyberg report shows that Brokers had nothing to do with the crash

On page 21 of the report ([footnote 27]- available on BankingInquiry.gov.ie) the following appears:

Mortgage intermediaries began to emerge as a force in the residential mortgage market in the mid-1990’s, initially as a distribution channel for non-branch based mortgage lenders. Due in part to alliances with estate agents they exercised significant control over the “first time buyer” market in particular. This market was viewed by lenders as an attractive market segment and key for customer acquisition and exit financing for development lending.

At the peak of the market in 2005 mortgage intermediaries accounted for about 45% of new residential mortgage loans. Against this background, intermediaries were able to leverage their relationships with lenders pushing for better mortgage terms (and sometimes larger loans). This led to a considerable reduction in bank margins (interest and commission). Many banks sought to compensate by increasing loan volumes to maintain earnings. While these changes impacted on the mortgage market, mortgage intermediaries had only a limited and indirect impact on the banking problems which are the subject of this …

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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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How ‘Shared Equity’ in an arrears cases would(n’t) work

This piece is a demonstration of the way in which a a bank will opt for ‘shared equity’ with a home owner who is in arrears as means to keeping them in the property. It is important to remember, the ‘big bad bank’ wants people to stay in a property with arrears, only during a strong upward cycle do they tend to repossess property rapidly. What you will see next is in effect, a legal accounting trick, and one which actually leverages the individual even more.

So the situation at the start shows the asset value versus the value of the underlying security (in fact it is a little more complicated than this but for the sake of explanation the property and asset are the same value). Then along comes a property crash (we had a banking crisis thrown in for good measure).

Now the borrower is 200% leveraged, or at 50% in negative equity (their …

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Debt Deflation

Irving Fisher was a leading economist in the early 20th century. After being caught out during the Great Depression (he famously quipped, “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” right before the bottom fell out), he did a lot of soul-searching and research to understand where he and his profession had gone wrong. By 1933, he had come up with a framework which very well describes what happened during the depression and happens in similar episodes of credit crisis.

From an issue of Econometrica in 1933: “Assuming, accordingly, that, at some point of time, a state of over-indebtedness exists, this will tend to lead to liquidation, through the alarm either of debtors or creditors or both”. Then we may deduce the following chain of consequences in nine links:

1. Debt liquidation leads to distress selling and to 2. Contraction of deposit currency, as bank loans are paid off, and to a slowing down of velocity of circulation. This contraction of deposits and of their velocity, precipitated by distress selling, causes 3. A fall in the level …

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