No Bailouts, no free lunches

If you were to describe the world of finance or investment as a ‘jungle’ then it would be a fair comparison to say that the first rule of the jungle, the core principle of it, and that which must remain as a central tenet is this: Investors who take a risk should always lose if that risk doesn’t pay off, equally they should always reap the reward if it does.

Seems simple right? Wrong, we are seeing the build up for a bail out in the press on a near constant basis, the majority of which is pointing towards the construction sector or the financial sector. This is all totally wrong, and it goes against any right thinking concept of capitalism or free markets.

Banks in particular don’t like regulation and press constantly for free market principles, so they of all …

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Every which way but loose. The economy speaks….

The Irish economy is in a downturn, if you don’t know this then you have already died and either gone to heaven (where the boom is still on) or to hell (in which you are living halfway through 2009 already).

The factors involved in the Irish economic slowdown are multi-faceted, on one hand there was the property boom, then there was the corresponding financial expansion, as well as a strong dosage of greed thrown in by Joe Public. All of this was the foundation for the explosive cocktail we will one day look back upon and refer to as the ‘credit crunch’.

Mortgages are harder to place with lenders, the lenders themselves don’t have the liquidity to keep giving out money, that is the downside of fractional reserve banking. Yesterdays ESRI report showed that property, construction, and lending are all down at serious lows for the same period last year. The forecast for 2007 was to see total lending rise by €25 billion, figures for the first quarter show that only 4.4 billion was drawn, assuming the slow down continues …

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Online Mortgages for consumers and electronic documents.

The next phase of the Irish mortgage market, and certainly the Irish broker market is to overcome the intensive levels of paper creation and associated running costs, one UK based firm has come out stating that technology will be the key to the survival of the intermediary market.

Paper costs accrue to more than just the physical paper, the storage areas required to hold them, the additional stationary, photocopiers, and toner cartridges, paper also has a massive ‘human’ cost in terms of man hours. If the market was to gain efficiencies in document storage and movement then it would make sense that a document would only ever need to be copied once.

Currently a broker will obtain documents, copy them, verify them, and then send them on to a lender who will copy them once they witness that they have been verified and usually they will scan them in as well. This means that the broker copied them (and maybe scanned them), then the lender copies …

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A tale of two commissions.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

Some of you may recognise this line from ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens, however, I am not a classical scholar, instead it sums up my monetary sentiments for 2008. On one hand we are seeing property prices [the very foundation of the majority of Irish wealth] wither away, as global conditions worse, especially in the USA where house prices are now falling quicker than they did during the Great Depression.

There has been more than a few articles in this blog about the current issues in the broker market, the description I would use to describe it at the moment tends to modulate between ‘ugly’ and …

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Bubble Bubble, Boil and Trouble, Markets Quake and Markets Crumble

There is talk about the property bubble, and now an oil and gold bubble. Commodity prices have had a massive bull run, so will does this bull still have ground to cover? There is a real possibility the answer is yes… quite so.

Commodities have cycles like any other product, there are cycles such as ‘winter demand’ for oil, or a rise and fall as economies boom and bust, but then there are structural cycles that have to do more with supply and demand. There has been (for instance) a big upsurge in demand for oil but Opec have not increased output in order to meet the demand. The US Economy is slowing down (don’t use the R word!) and Europe is following, so if some of the major markets are starting to slow then what will that do to Oil or other commodities?

Oil prices in Euro’s prices went from €16 to €68 because the Euro got so much stronger against the Dollar, so is the solution to buy from the Iranian Oil Bourse which deals in euros? Supply …

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Do you need a ‘Reality Check’? Property prices rationalise.

According to Britain’s largest property portal Rightmove.co.uk sellers need a ‘reality check’ when selling their according to a story published by Reuters. In the UK the unsold property stock has reached record proportions, currently it is seeing 35,000 per week come online, rightmove have about 90% of the property listed on the market on their site so it’s an even better indicator than our own versions which would be daft.ie and myhome.ie.

They have said that people need to embrace ‘smart pricing’, here we have taken to calling this ‘priced to sell’ or ‘price adjustment’ but in the end of the day the message is clear, drop your prices if you want to sell. The interesting aspect of the rightmove analysis is that many of the people advertising property are trading up and although they want to buy at a bargain they want to sell for the highest price attainable, its an interesting juxtaposition.

I think we are seeing the same thing in Ireland with sellers hoping for high …

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Do you need a 'Reality Check'? Property prices rationalise.

According to Britain’s largest property portal Rightmove.co.uk sellers need a ‘reality check’ when selling their according to a story published by Reuters. In the UK the unsold property stock has reached record proportions, currently it is seeing 35,000 per week come online, rightmove have about 90% of the property listed on the market on their site so it’s an even better indicator than our own versions which would be daft.ie and myhome.ie.

They have said that people need to embrace ‘smart pricing’, here we have taken to calling this ‘priced to sell’ or ‘price adjustment’ but in the end of the day the message is clear, drop your prices if you want to sell. The interesting aspect of the rightmove analysis is that many of the people advertising property are trading up and although they want to buy at a bargain they want to sell for the highest price attainable, its an interesting juxtaposition.

I think we are seeing the same thing in Ireland with sellers hoping for high …

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People queueing to buy while 310 million is wiped off the property market

according to Irish Property Watch €310 million euro was the total amount that prices on the popular property website Daft were reduced by in from last March until this February. This looks at properties listed in the 26 counties and then the total amounts that the asking prices were decreased by and then adds them all up, in percentages the average was -7.6%

However there are a few things to bear in mind, firstly, The market is probably getting used to the idea of more realistic asking prices, the market has without doubt slowed down in the last 12 months and there probably is tendency of people who are listing their property for the first time since the slowdown began to price optimistically and then after an initial period to price more realistically or ‘price to sell’.

To the Bears this may be a sign that prices are falling at a spectacular rate, and that might be true, it could also mean that prices are simply coming in line with …

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One prediction you don’t want to hear for 2008

I want to make a quick prediction for 2008. It will be (contrary to what everybody else in this industry says) that the property market is going to fall further and the mortgage mess is far from over. My whole living revolves around property so I don’t say this lightly, but it kills me when estate agents and the like keep saying that it will be o.k. when that is clearly not the case, this is a time where you need to be tuned and ideally experienced in order to gain from it.

Remember: when markets almost as much money can be made, in the same way you can buy then sell a share you can also sell and then buy, things moving downwards doesn’t spell disaster or the end of the world as we know it, it just requires looking at the market and being honest with your view, and it means that you may have to work a little harder for the same gain or move away from certain things altogether.

I spoke to a friend of mine …

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One prediction you don't want to hear for 2008

I want to make a quick prediction for 2008. It will be (contrary to what everybody else in this industry says) that the property market is going to fall further and the mortgage mess is far from over. My whole living revolves around property so I don’t say this lightly, but it kills me when estate agents and the like keep saying that it will be o.k. when that is clearly not the case, this is a time where you need to be tuned and ideally experienced in order to gain from it.

Remember: when markets almost as much money can be made, in the same way you can buy then sell a share you can also sell and then buy, things moving downwards doesn’t spell disaster or the end of the world as we know it, it just requires looking at the market and being honest with your view, and it means that you may have to work a little harder for the same gain or move away from certain things altogether.

I spoke to a friend of mine …

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