Understanding why mortgage rates MUST rise.

We have been saying for some time that interest rates on mortgages must rise, you can look at supply and demand, or you can look at the types of products that have ceased to exist such as tracker mortgages (removing fixed margin loan products) and then there is the proliferation of variable LTV products which set the stage for the ability to manipulate margin on more loans. The question is ‘what all of this means’, and the purpose of this post is to explain how deposits, business lending and mortgages are all interconnected parts of the banking system and how margins are set based upon them.

Last week PTsb finally came out and said that they were considering an

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If you are in financial trouble, don’t be an idiot

A part of me feels bad about not having any pity for some of the people who recently had their homes repossessed. Note: I said some not ‘all’, the reality is that I agree with repossessions for people who bury their head in the sand. In many cases the person had made no payment in three or four years and avoided any contact from the lender.

How do you negotiate with a person who won’t even come to the table? Or worse yet, who refuses to acknowledge there is an issue to come to the table for! The IBF recently decided to start working with MABS on a new protocol for people in financial difficulty, we fully support such a move, and for people in mortgage arrears, or indeed any financial arrears we even wrote a guide for …

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Toxic traders, capitalising on volumes

Joe Saluzzi of Themis Trading (I mistakenly read the link initially as ‘the mistrading’!) have recently published a paper which accuses traders of intentionally trading huge volumes where they buy and sell for the same price and in the process make a half a cent per share. The volume of trading is fictitious ‘high frequency traders’, what they do is buy and sell and collect liquidity rebates from the exchange (note: 50 milliseconds is a huge amount of time) in this game. Do it 8 billion times and it really starts to add up.

This is just depressing, actual investors don’t get to join in because the firms engaged in this are doing it within the actual exchanges using the fastest computer technology available. They also have an unfair advantage in how they trade because they use rules intended to match buyers and sellers to their advantage, they find hidden liquidity and in essence remove it from the market as profit.

The most powerful deterrent would be to make a rule …

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Supply, Demand, & Prices of Irish Property – A talk by Ronan Lyons

Ronan Lyons gave a talk to CFA Ireland on the 9th of July on the topic ‘Supply, Demand, & Prices in Irish Property’.

Ronan is one of the most respected voices on the property commentary circuit in Ireland due to his careful analysis and long term association with the nations largest property website daft.ie (from which he gathers his datasets).

This video (click here to go and watch the full play-list) is required viewing for anybody with an interest in the Irish property market.

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Are you getting your full tax relief?

There was an article in one of Ireland’s national newspapers last week describing the major issues surrounding the rescinding and subsequent re instatement of mortgage Interest relief. For those who are uninformed about this subject, mortgage interest relief (or TRS) was suspended pending the requirement for every person that previously claimed relief to re-apply for it. This was not a move intended to deprive anyone of their entitlements, more a housekeeping exercise to make sure that things are as they should be.

Thousands of Irish home owners had their tax relief temporarily suspended so that a general process of reassessment could take place whereby people would ascertain that whatever they were receiving in tax relief was correct. The Government spends millions every year on the TRS scheme, and with the exchequer being frightfully strained like Mary Hearney doing a triathlon, it was a necessary to ensure that the recipients of tax relief at source were indeed fully entitled to it.

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What do banks want when you apply for a mortgage?

Sometimes I ask the folks in the office about the questions they are asked by clients they are dealing with at the time, often it will result in comments like ‘the usual’… ‘How much can I borrow? What’s the best rate etc.’ and while that is true, another question often asked is one that is implied but not directly a question.

‘What do banks want from me when I am making a mortgage application?’

The answer, in the sense of principles, is that that they are looking for a way of determining your ability to repay a debt, some mathematics is used, some gut instinct often plays a part too, qualitative is mixed with quantitative.

Banks use different general mortgage calculators and these use your financial information to give different brackets of lending outcomes. In looking at your p60 they try to establish a year on year figure for your earnings, if you got a raise in the interim (if you did recently you are a rarity!) then …

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Bill Gross, talking about US jobless figures

Bill Gross talks about the US jobless figures for June, while there is the need to realise that bad news makes bond prices rise, Mr. Gross of PIMCO (the worlds largest bond fund) make some excellent points.

Anaemic wage growth, a savings rate jumping from 0% towards 8%, the people with jobs are not getting raises, he picture he paints is grim, he says there will be suppressed demand and spending for a generation. The contents of his takes on the market can be found on the Pimco website here.

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The investment method of property valuations.

I recently enjoyed the company of IPAV lecturer Frank Quinn and during our time together we discussed the Irish property market and more importantly that of valuations, he explained that while the investment method of valuations is virtually unused in Irish property that it is relevant, not only for investment properties but also for residential housing.

First it is important to realise that there are two broad ways of valuing a property, the first is where you value at the ‘market’ price, in an upward market this can have the issue of pushing values higher as bidders vie to outdo each other on comparable properties, in a downward market it can be equally distorting, but in a fairly stagnant market the absence of transactions is, of itself a distortion, estate agents can’t look at their own back book of sales for information if that back book is empty.

It is therefore desirable at times, to use the valuation method, it is a simple way of viewing property valuations,  it does tend to …

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The tax of Regulation

It is worth noting that the constant calls for ‘Regulation’ are partly flawed, on one hand we do need more regulation, such as regulation of our Government agencies who can’t control their spending, regulation and accountability of our regulator, and of course (most importantly), some regulation of central banks who’s ability to keep rates too low and aid in the creation of money is closely linked with every major boom/bust in the last 100 years.

However, further regulation on financial services companies, and in particular small financial companies is not going to achieve the very aim it sets out to do, namely that of protecting consumers. It would be far better to have an ombudsman and regulator with teeth than to look for more laws that can be broken without retribution [in this respect banks have broken strict rules with almost total impunity].

Financial services are also a zero VAT business, this means that while we pay 21.5% VAT for everything we receive, we cannot charge VAT to our clients, thus, all of our …

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