Irish Mortgage Brokers in the press, May 2010

We had a busy month in the financial commentary world. A list of our press mentions is below

23rd May 2010: Sunday Tribune: Safe for a while against rate hikes

23rd May 2010: Sunday Times: A bad time to invest? Q & A with Jill Kerby

23rd May 2010: Sunday Tribune: Mortgage rate increases

16th May 2010: Sunday Times: Keep hold of your home

16th May 2010: Sunday Tribune: Mortgage group mull over Negative Equity Loans

16th May 2010: Sunday Tribune: Recession Rates

14th May 2010: Newstalk 106: Ivan Yates talks to Karl Deeter about Property Prices

15th May 2010: Independent: Property prices must fall to attract investors

13th …

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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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Who has the best mortgage rates?

The ‘best rate’ is a misnomer because interpretation of what is the ‘best’ is a subjective question, for a very conservative person a 10 year fixed rate is ‘the best’ and from that point the ‘best’ will likely be whatever is the cheapest ten year fixed rate, having said that, after careful consideration the best 10 year fixed rate mortgage might be one that allows you to pay off a lump sum during the fixed period without any penalty thereby ensuring that you can eat into your capital quicker, is a feature like that worth extra money each month if it isn’t the cheapest? To some people it may be, to others it isn’t.

If you are considering a property purchase and are not a cash buyer then you will need financing, and this comes at a ‘price’, the interpretation of that price is generally the rate, so which rate is better (we’ll assume you want a 1 year fixed rate), 2.5% or 2.6%? Naturally you’d be inclined to say it is …

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How much of a deposit do I need?

When making a mortgage application this is a question that many first time buyers want to know, how much money do I must I have for a deposit? Well, that kind of depends on which bank provides the mortgage finance!

Lending criteria is different for every bank/building society/lender, this goes for rates, the general underwriting criteria as well as the ‘loan to value‘, the deposit you need is 100% minus the Maximum LTV and that will give you the deposit amount you require. For instance, ICS have a maximum LTV of 92% so the deposit you need – if you are obtaining finance through them – is 100% – 92% = 8%.

What is interesting in that example is that when you go ‘sale agreed’ on a property the estate agent will ask for a security deposit and the balance of 10% at the signing of contracts, this is an example …

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Fred Harrison talks about the property tax

I called Fred Harrison in connection with a book review I had done for the national broker associations magazine ‘The Professional Insurance Broker’, I wanted to send him on a copy, what was meant to be a quick hello/goodbye turned into a fascinating chat on the topic of property taxes.

Something that we are seeing more of lately is a debate where the public sector are demonized – often for merely existing – and portrayed as being ‘wasteful’ and bloated. Bob Frank in the US said something to me before that stuck in my head, that ‘the serious waste occurs in the private sector, the public sector don’t go around buying hummers and other pointless trophies, the ‘waste’ in the public sector however, is found in the way that they budget and perform versus the private sector’.

I think that is profound, the public sector don’t waste in the same manner and it is important to remember that in any …

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Failed regulation in the Irish market

There are three broad benefits to regulation of a financial system.

Firstly, avoidance of negative externalities, often the societal costs of these outweighs the private cost and prevention is possible when a regulator is function well and doing their job correctly. They do this by preventing excesses, by promoting conservative risk management in the financial sector and helping to maintain confidence by ensuring (for instance) that a liquidity shortfall in one institution doesn’t spill over into others (i.e. avoiding multiple bank runs which take down well functioning solvent banks in their wake) resulting in a widespread credit crunch.

Secondly, to set solvency and reserve requirements for banks, at times there are significant asymmetries in information within the consumer/institution relationship, or worse still, information gaps (where both institution and consumer don’t have full information – as happened in the sub-prime loan market in the USA), when nobody can determine the quality and reliability of a financial product a strong regulatory environment will ensure that banks are in a position in which they can …

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When will we get a real picture on repossessions in Ireland?

The mood has definitely changed in the markets and across the world in the last year, we have gone from being on the precipice of total destruction to being tentatively optimistic, and in many cases outright bullish. The news is becoming ‘less bad’ (perhaps we are getting immune to bad news too!) across several key metrics in many countries such as the ‘speed of the increase in the rate of unemployment’ – which is a roundabout way of saying ‘lots of people are losing jobs but not as quickly as before and thus its a good thing’.

One of the headline grabbers this year was that of repossessions, they make for poignant reading and often they are naturally heartbreaking stories, but are we seeing the full picture? Today we will consider some of the reasons why we believe that we are not seeing anything like the full picture, and it relates to the implementation of several key policy areas which have essentially delayed the problem for another …

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