Track that Yield Curve! ECB effects.

Today the FT has reported that the ECB will offer unlimited 12 mth repo facilities to banks, this is a big step for the generally hawkish bank. Note: Unlimited.

We have said on this blog/radio/national papers that the 1% mark is not likely to be passed due to the compression it causes on banking profits (the ZIRP policy was one of the inherent issues with Japan’s lost decade). So the opportunity to get in at what is being touted as the historic low, not to be repeated, will have an effect and the belief – at least in this house – is that it will be on the right hand side of the yield curve.

Undoubtedly banks will now gather every available piece of collateral and cash it in. Remember you heard it hear first: this will cause a problem in about 12 months time when the piper has to be paid and everybody is cashing out/back in …

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Current account interest rates are set to drop

Banks have a pool of money called ‘zero rated funds’, this is the money that they hold for which they are paying no interest. Lots of current accounts fall under this category, and banks can figure out with time, the block that is there on a regular basis when you remove the marginal volatility in the funds held at any time.

Imagine you own a money shop and you buy in money and sell it too, in the till you know that no matter what  happens you always seem to have at least €60 in the till, that would be the equivalent of your zero rated funds (hope that makes sense!).

When banks lend they take these zero rated funds and mix them with money bought on the market to come up with ‘blended rates’. So while some money is costing 0% other money might cost 1.269% (that’s today’s 3 month Euribor ), you then get an average of these and depending on what the ‘blend’ or ‘mix’ is your …

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Alan Blinder talks to Charlie Rose

I know on the last post with Charlie Rose I said ‘this is a must see’ but cancel that, this one is the must see of the day!

This is a conversation about the growing fiscal deficit with Alan Blinder, Professor of Economics at Princeton University and Director of Princeton’s Center for Economic Policy Studies, David Leonhardt of “The New York Times” and Alan J. Auerbach, Professor of Economics and Law, Director of the Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance, University of California, Berkeley

Alan Blinder of Princeton is a brilliant economist with both academic and practitioner experience, I always find his views really interesting.

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Rent to buy: The pitfalls in practice

Rent to buy is not a ‘new idea’, one of my mentors is a man who built over 10,000 homes in Dublin (he retired in the 70’s having started his business in the late 40’s), but in talking to him he spoke of almost exclusively selling houses in staged payments and renting them out to prospective buyers as a way of paying for the property.

The resurfacing of rent to buy is not evidence of the wheel being reinvented but purely of the prevailing economic environment, however, unlike the way it operated over thirty years ago, today renting to buy is having obligations stitched into the contract that may not be possible to meet in the future and therefore it leaves the renter/purchaser in some slight uncertainty.

One of the primary issues is that of ‘loan offers secured’. When you rent to buy you are essentially (in most cases) saying you will buy the property at a point in the future for the market value at the time of completion of …

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Infrastructure: Costing too much and rewarding so few

I am not about to say the Luas isn’t great, having used the service several times I find it to be more efficient than the Dart or bus and in the areas that it serves it beats other forms of transport hands down for speed in getting there, that is really the golden aim of public transport, make it cheap, fast, reliable and it will work.

The issue I have however, and that we will cover today is that the Luas went well over budget and in terms of a capital project we have rewarded the people along the Luas line with unearned capital gains which will never be taxed and that gain came implicitly at the expense of the taxpayer.

I was thinking of canvassing the houses along the Luas line to ask them if they felt that ‘bank bailouts’ were a rip off and if the tax payer should be rewarded for such actions given that the state were paying for it, then to ask them if they …

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Bank of Scotland cut back on LTV’s

Bank of Scotland recently announced that no longer will support an applicant seeking to borrow 90% for a newly constructed, or second hand property.

In view of the new homes gathering market clearing pace, I feel Bank of Scotland have been a little short sighted here. This profile of the property market accounts for a huge amount of business, especially with builders seeking to offload newly built properties at knock down prices. I don’t think I am being short sighted when I predict fervent activity over the coming months with many first time buyers eyeing dropping prices as an economical godsend, match that with a low rate environment and it gives mobility, choice, and all of this at a price that won’t break the bank.

Paying € 1,100 / € 1,200 for a 2 bed city centre apartment makes sense for people who don’t wish to live with their parents. If we move this on a step further, it makes even more sense to buy. With very low lending rates, you …

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Bank of Scotland cut back on LTV's

Bank of Scotland recently announced that no longer will support an applicant seeking to borrow 90% for a newly constructed, or second hand property.

In view of the new homes gathering market clearing pace, I feel Bank of Scotland have been a little short sighted here. This profile of the property market accounts for a huge amount of business, especially with builders seeking to offload newly built properties at knock down prices. I don’t think I am being short sighted when I predict fervent activity over the coming months with many first time buyers eyeing dropping prices as an economical godsend, match that with a low rate environment and it gives mobility, choice, and all of this at a price that won’t break the bank.

Paying € 1,100 / € 1,200 for a 2 bed city centre apartment makes sense for people who don’t wish to live with their parents. If we move this on a step further, it makes even more sense to buy. With very low lending rates, you …

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When one blunt instrument fails use another

Banks are restricting credit, in a market economy rationing is generally a mistake, but at the same time they can’t come out and say ‘we are restricting who we will lend to’ particularly when the taxpayer is playing such a fundamental role to their survival.

How are banks achieving this? Thus far they have used several tools to do this…

1. Interest rates: This is often referred to as a ‘blunt tool’, and when a lender wants to pull back from the market they look at what the best prices are and ensure that in almost every case they are far more expensive than the other players in the market at that time. It would be like a shop owner wanting to slow the sale of chocolate bars, if they were to charge significantly more than the shop next door then their stock would move much slower than the other persons. This has two effects – it makes their money available for lending last longer, and when it is lent out …

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