The Vultures are here….

When the government raised the bar for stamp duty to €317,500 house prices took a jump and suddenly every house was valued at €317,500. This meant that a huge amount of stamp never entered government coffers and many people blamed estate agents. Rightly so, it was a disgrace but it happened and now we can’t reverse time.

Once bitten, twice shy. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice….. (in the words of GW Bush) well…. you’re not gonna fool me twice. Alas, yes, we have been fooled twice, for no sooner had the government introduced extensive increases in mortgage interest relief than they were swooped upon and devoured.

How? By the likes of Ulsterbank who increased their rates (especially the ones available to first time buyers) only the day before. So all of the money that the tax payer spends to suppliment the mortgage interest relief and all of the governments best efforts are once again halted by greed.

Estate agents took a beating over the house price increases when stamp duty was reformed, and developers too as …

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Talk the Talk (part 2)

As part of the ethics in writing this article I made a decided point of not actually reading my initial article so there is no way of knowing if in general I was right or wrong. Anyways, I am pleased to present the second installment and can only say at this point that I hope my integrity is intact come the end of it all. The numbers and the paragraphs below them are the originals from the article at the end of 2005, the Result & Humiliation score are todays take on what actually happened since they were written.

6. Product or client specific lenders

We have already spoken about ‘sub-prime’ lenders, this is product or client specific lending based on a pre-set target market, but who’s to say it shouldn’t work both ways? What about a lender who deals only with people who earn over €100,000 or who have a net worth of €1,000,000? Previously this may have been the stock and trade of the ‘private banking’ wing of certain banks but there is scope for this type of …

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Talk the talk and walk the walk (economically speaking)

I wrote an article back at the end of 2005 called ‘the changing face of the mortgage market’ and I sent it off to a few newspapers and several magazines, it went largely un-noticed, when I say ‘largely’ I actually mean ‘totally’. Apparently I was ranting lunacy or something close to it, if you know me you’ll also know that this was a possibility….

Last weekend in a smokey Krakow it was mentioned during a conversation that you need to make a call on things and then fall on your face when you are wrong but remain vindicated when you are right. In the spirit of that conversation (with thanks to our own resident Enda Munnelly) I will list the predictions I had and then we can either collectively laugh at me or not. The main thing is that I put my predictions on the line and show whether or not I can walk the walk.

1. More than 100%!

Traditionally there were two things stopping people from getting a mortgage, the first was qualifying for the loan, the second …

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Whats the fuss about the U.S. Dollar?

The federal reserve is expected to cut rates next week in an effort to alleviate a credit market in crisis. In the meantime there are other developments which may be coming to the rescue, last week Abu Dhabi Investment Authority bought a $7.5 billion stake in Citigroup helping Americas largest bank, who incidentally have massive exposure to those nasty sub-prime loans that are at the root of the present credit crunch. Perhaps Abu Dhabi Investment Authority see an opportunity to pick up assets at a bargain from amongst the wreakage? The other surprise is that China Investment Corporation have expressed a desire to invest in stocks ‘rocked by sub-prime defaults’. The chairman of China Investment Corporation said that the $200 billion fund he directs will be a ‘stabilizing force in the international capital markets’. Perhaps they are seeking credibility in the business world.

Why would it be any other way? If the U.S.A. goes down it will seriously hurt China. Why? For a start the fact that for the near future most of the worlds commodities are in $USD it …

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Ulster Bank, cutting out brokers, and perhaps Consumers too?

I guess the best thing to do is quickly outline the way things have worked since the inception of the broker industry in Ireland.

Brokers start their own companies and place business with larger companies, there are several types of brokers, some are tied (this means they only place business with one company) and independent – which is what Irish Mortgage Brokers are – and we have a panel of 15 banks and 5 insurance companies.

We have traditionally been paid 1% of the loans we send a bank as a ‘commission’ or income, so the client normally doesn’t have to pay a broker fee because the costs are covered by the commission. Brokers are paid because broker business (which counts for almost 60% of all mortgages done in this country) is a clean and profitable source of business for banks, they don’t have to pay for the brokers staff, their light, heat, holiday time etc. They do however have to pay for all of these things when a loan is done at branch level (e.g.: the loan is done …

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Credit Freeze and the effects on the ECB

The credit markets in the U.S.A., Asia, and Europe are in the midst of a freeze at the moment. Banks are not willing to lend to each other hence the big hike in the Euribor (European inter bank ordinary rate: this is the rate that banks lend to each other at) rates and in the U.K. the Libor (London inter bank ordinary rate) rates, they are trading much higher than the central bank rates and this indicates that there is (to a degree) a general mistrust between banks, mainly because they don’t know the exposure to sub-prime exposure the other may have.

The response thus far has been a Fed rate cut, this came a little late, and the indication is that Ben Bernanke will cut the rates again within the next week. Earlier in the year (March 28th) Bernanke claimed that ‘the impact on the broader economy & financial markets of the problems in the sub-prime market are likely to be contained’. Later in June he again re-iterated that there was not a strong chance of a spill-over into …

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