RTE Drivetime: ‘Talking Money’ on mortgage rates, 20th April 2015

On talking money we looked at mortgage rates, where they are, where they are headed and what the best choice might be for people who are trying to decide what is best for their personal situation.

It’s a tricky question, rates can and do go up and down, but we believe the long term trend is for rates to go lower, in fact, that trend has already been occurring and there isn’t anything that seems in a position to stop it from happening. This is good news for borrowers (not so good for deposit savers!).

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The sums behind ‘taxing’ the banks into a rate cut

Yesterday we were on the Sean O’Rourke show discussing variable rates on RTE Radio. We mentioned how doubling the ‘tax’ on banks won’t actually change anything. The mechanisms were briefly covered and we got a few emails asking for clarification so here it is.

The ‘levy’ was part of the Finance Act 2014 which imposed a new annual levy on financial institutions aiming to raise €150 million per annum for 3 years.

This sum is payable on October the 20th in each year (2014-2016) and it applies to a financial institution that is the holder of an Irish (or equivalent EU) banking licence or is an Irish (or equiv EU) building society that was obliged to pay DIRT – unless the amount required to pay in 2011 was not more than 100k.

The main outcry is centred on variable rates for primary home dwellers in particular. So how much of that debt is out there?

We know there are about 300,000 ‘loans’ but the quantum of debt is €39.638m which is about €3bn …

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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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Central Bank Mortgage Cap Calculator: did you get shafted?

We have designed a simple calculator that lets you put in your property price, what rents you are currently paying, how you think prices will change and how many years it would take you to save a 20% deposit if you only have 10% now.

Just download the excel file, fill in the bright yellow boxes on the first sheet, and then scroll down to the green area to find out if you win or got shafted. (download here)

You can play around with different scenarios, but suffice to say that a regular couple who have €25,000 saved up and are looking to buy a property for €250,000 today will be worse off if rents and property prices went up by 2% a year (and it took them 4 years to save the additional deposit required) to the tune of €15,500.

We don’t believe it is in the remit of the Central Bank to damage the balance sheets of financially healthy individuals, but you can test your own hypothesis and see how it …

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Newstalk: Lunchtime speaks to Irish Mortgage Brokers about ‘mortgage caps’

Jonathan Healy of Newstalk spoke to Karl Deeter about capping mortgage loan to values and loan to income amounts. This is a logically compelling idea but it won’t fix the supply shortage or necessarily prevent the problems we are told it will fix. It will also mean that about 2 in 3 first time buyers face an adverse effect that people who already bought didn’t have to deal with, namely that of trying to save up a 20% deposit.

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RTE Primetime spoke to Irish Mortgage Brokers about lending caps

Robert Shortt from RTE’s Primetime show spoke to us about the Central Bank idea of putting caps on lending in terms of the loan to value and the loan to income ratios. There is a sense in this, but we don’t believe such a crude instrument is nuanced enough to negate the downsides that such a policy brings with it. There are better ways to do this and they should be explored.

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Today FM: The Last Word on mortgages

Matt Cooper from ‘The Last Word’ had Charlie Weston (Irish Independent) on his show along with Karl Deeter to discuss mortgages, loan rates and some of the developments that are starting to happen in the marketplace.

Some of the main points of interest were that switching is available again, rates are likely to lower and that some lenders are coming out with longer term fixed rates.

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Sunday Business Post – Deposits

This story appeared in the print and online edition of the Sunday Business Post on the 9th of June 2013.

Another banking win is how some heralded the  move by the NTMA to drop their savings rates, in some instances these rates reducing by over 40%. The savings products are distributed on an agency basis by An Post, but was it a decision made due to bank pressure and is there anything a saver can do about it?

To start we need to remember that typical deposit rates in normal nations with healthy banks are generally about one percent or less. Our nation is not typical, our banks are still far from healthy, so we have seen elevated rates for the last five years.

At one point in late 2008 early 2009 you could get over 5% on a one year deposit. And although the banks whine about An Post having state backing and great rates they didn’t do this when their members had the best rates during the financial crisis and only existed due to state support, sauce for …

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