Non-credit fuelled booms

There has been an ongoing narrative that the last housing boom (and many others) was only possible due to excessive credit. We have argued for a long time that this is a mistaken interpretation. While credit can make a bad situation worse, just like adding fuel to a flame, it is not the genesis of the problem.

We were pleased to see this view articulated by the Central Bank Governor Philip Lane recently. He stated that “cash buyers of property are limiting the ability of the Central Bank to control house prices through mortgage lending rules” he “singled out cash buyers as one of the key drivers of inflation in the Irish property market. Cash buyers used to account for about 25 per cent of house purchases in Ireland, but since the crash and ensuing credit crunch this figure has risen to 60 per cent“.

This is a point we have been making for years, firstly was that first time buyers are not, and have not been the problem. That was part of why we were specifically …

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The unaffordability index of Irish housing

This picture speaks a thousand words and in many cases tens of thousands of earnings that a person would have to have in order to afford an average home in different parts of the country. We used recent data from the Daft report and then broke it down into borrowings and compared that to average wages.

The column after ‘county’ is the average price in that region. If we assume a first time buyer will typically want a 90% mortgage we then look at the amount of earnings they’d need to have in order to get the loan.

The last column is where the real story lies, it compares prices in the area to average wages taken from the CSO.

Anything in a white cell with a minus is very affordable, anything in black means you’d have to be earning above average wage to buy a property in the area.

If the cell has a red background that is showing you where the difference is greater than €10,000.

It’s fairly clear that cities and in some cases …

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Sunday Independent: Irish Mortgage Brokers mentioned in housing article

We were happy to see that our concern about social engineering was mentioned in an article in the Sunday Independent by Brendan O’Connor, the quote is below.

Or does the Central Bank think it’s desirable? And why has the Central Bank taken it upon itself to decide that Irish people should move to renting property rather than buying their own house? Mortgage broker Karl Deeter has suggested the Central Bank is indulging in social engineering. What other shifts in how we live would the Central Bank like to introduce you wonder. Perhaps a one-child policy?

The issue of social engineering was first raised by us in the consultation process when it began in 2014, specifically we said this was a concern in the following two quotes taken from our submission:

This policy will ensure that many people fall prey to a policy that in protecting banks hurts their future wealth. We are, and will remain, strongly opposed to measures that have societal engineering outcomes such as this.

And later we also said that

For people who don’t have rich parents …

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The ESRI and the Central Bank butt heads.

This headline appeared in the Indo today. We agree with the idea of a safer market, but also agree with the ESRI on this, that it was badly timed, inappropriate and will actually cause more problems than it fixes due to being badly timed.

We would agree, our submission on the subject was one of the few that articulated the problems, why the moves wouldn’t prevent boom-bust and gave empirical evidence supporting same. Meanwhile many others were falling over themselves to commend Patrick Honohan and the Central Bank for being such good regulators.

They may have insulated the banks, but it’s at the expense of a market that will not provide for all of the people that need housing, in doing this it also helps to encourage speculation as one by-product is higher yields which re-attract investors into a market.

The ESRI have articulated this better than we did, and we support their findings. Oddly, the person behind the statements was the best economist the Central …

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New PTsb products

PTsb have just issued a new rates matrix and the prices are good, they have a standard SVR for all loan to value amounts (ie: 90%) of 3.99% and 3.69% for LTV’s below 70%, these then revert to 4.34% after the first year which is not the market leader but it is right up there in the same ball park.

This (to our thinking) confirms PTsb’s re-commitment to the market, they have said they will up lending to c. €450m from the €60-70 (that’s the mortgage portion, the officially reported 90m includes all credit) they advanced in 2012.

They have also re-deployed staff in their broker centre which was a one person business unit last year! The staffing numbers there will be 5-6 people for 2013 which means there will be ample access for the intermediary channel, obviously direct and branch will also be active, all said it seems likely they may reach their target of €450m new lending.

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