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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The reason why mortgage rates don’t have to go as high as bond rates.

Dr. Peter Bacon made an interesting quote stating that he thought that

“The first is I think households are going to be more cautious about spending than is assumed in some forecasts. The second is I think the interest rate consequence of international certainty is going to be a deterrent to investment taking place.”

Earlier, Dr Bacon told the audience that Irish firms borrowing money would ultimately end up paying interest rates that were linked to the cost of Irish government borrowings.

“You can call it yourself as to where the risk premium on government bonds is going to go — where it goes there goes general interest rates for companies in Ireland. In the long term, the cost of finance will be 200 or 300 basis points above the cost of government borrowings.”

The difference between government borrowing and bank borrowing is that people don’t lodge money with the state at zero interest. We do pay taxes, and buy low interest state products via the post office, but on the whole, there …

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Sunday Time: OpEd on Mutual Building Societies

The Sunday Times ‘Money’ section ran an opinion piece by Irish Mortgage Brokers on Mutual Building Societies in which we lamented the end of an era but made the point that the benefits of mutuality no longer exist given the market we are in.

Mutual building societies have an interesting history but their purpose was ultimately financial intermediation which is what banks nowadays perform, that, along with pricing and the test of the market have shown that Mutuals no longer have a place in the market on the basis of their structure, rather the market requires firms that exist on the basis of competition just like anybody else.

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AIB Rate hike: where is it now and where is it going?

AIB have announced an increase in their Standard Variable Rates (SVR’s) as well as in their Loan to Value Standard Variables (LTV-SVR’s: which are tiered variables based upon your loan to value), effective from August 10th. Caroline Madden of the Irish Times and Charlie Weston from the Independent both carried the story today, this comes only days after Allied Irish Bank announced that they lost over €2,000,000,000 in the first half of 2010.

Their SVR now stands at 3.25% but where is it headed? For that it is important to look at several different factors, firstly, their cost to income ratio has gone from 48% in 2009 to 63% for 2010. That means that it is costing them €63 to turn over €100 in income, this is a 32% increase on last year in costs which is a bad indication.

There are a multitude of factors playing into this:

1. Guarantee/ELG costs:

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EBS rate hikes, the benefit of mutuality?

EBS have announced a rate hike of 0.6% which is a follow on from their last 0.6% hike that was levied against variable rate mortgage holders on the 1st of May, this brings their margin increases to a total of 1.2% for the year to date.

Today’s Indo lead with this story (by Charlie Weston) and rightly pointed out that by the time this is over, a person with a €300,000 mortgage over 30 years could expect to pay just over €3,000 a year (after tax) in increased mortgage payments. For a person on the average industrial wage this is like a full months wages before tax being sucked away by the financial system. Tax hikes and wage cuts aside, this will ultimately reduce the money that is being spent in the economy and it will disappear into the financial system where banks will use it to de-lever further.

The contention for many people is that they are being punished, not for what they have done …

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If you didn’t like 100% mortgages you’ll loathe negative equity mortgages

I was interested in the front page of today’s Independent in which Charlie Weston broke a really big story about Irish banks being in advanced stages of designing ‘Negative Equity Mortgages’ (this is vastly different than the Negative Equity Loan/Short Sale Loan we have discussed previously). Essentially the bank will allow an individual to carry negative equity out of one property and move that onto another one within certain parameters.

This practice has already existed in the UK and is offered by Nationwide, Coventry and RBS, the schemes have not proved to be very popular, in part because of the stringent underwriting required. It is one thing for a client to fall into negative equity but another to actually facilitate them in compounding that fact and taking a further bet on their ability to repay. What do I mean by that?

First Loan: €200,000 Value: €150,000 Neg/Eq: €50,000

Then the €50,000 shortfall is passed into a second loan of (for example) €200,000 …

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Mortgage Mediation, a solution for mortgage holders in Florida (could it work in Ireland?)

Currently about 25% of the mortgages in Florida are delinquent, there is a huge amount of foreclosed property on the market, short sellers can’t offload fast enough, property prices are falling, and it is also a judicial foreclosure market meaning people have similar issues to the problems we have here when a home in negative equity is repossessed, they owe the difference.

A possible solution being tried there is that of mortgage mediation. This is vastly different than the scheme in place in Ireland, and perhaps active mediation with a set point of contact and a set representative would be a good idea, chances are we’ll never know because it is not likely to be rolled out in Ireland.

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Dichotomy in property – apartments versus houses

The recent liquidation sales have possibly started a new trend in the property market in Ireland, one whereby there is an increasing divide between the valuations in different types of property, we have long been saying that the only market worth considering is non-apartment second hand homes in cities, the liquidation sales have reinforced this belief.

While we may be part of Europe, when it comes to living spaces we believe that Irish people favour houses to apartments, we have not crossed that particular Rubicon just yet and unlike our European counterparts, there is still a wish to own the land under the dwelling, over time this may change, but with the exception of the bubble-times the overwhelming mortgage for a first time buyer was used to purchase a house and not an apartment.

The situation regarding the property market in Dublin (for instance) will likely be one where apartments are seen as a totally separate market, in the past many newly built apartments were not priced on a totally dissimilar basis to houses of comparable square footage in the …

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