Bigger deposits equal less savings.

An often overlooked aspect of finance is that mortgages are actually a brand of savings, as perverse as that may sound, you have to consider what happens when you pay off a loan over time. The ‘interest’ is the part that pays for the right to use money from the future (which is what credit is, it’s moving money through time) in the here and now, the other part is a ‘capital’ repayment.

When you repay capital you are making a balance sheet gain (or for those into more up to date accounting speak, you make an improvement on your ‘statement of financial position’), even if prices stay static, over time you will eventually owe zero and that means you have a large asset which is the end result of this ‘savings’, albeit not in actual cash.

When you have a housing scarcity and rents are rising, this acts like a ‘tax’ on income, rent and mortgages are paid in after tax income, so the urge to buy when buying is cheaper and obtain a fixed outgoing (as you can …

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To buy or not to buy…

We are constantly asked ‘is now a good time to buy’ and the answer as always is ‘that depends’. It depends on what you are hoping for, if you want to invest in an asset that will never lose value then no, it’s a terrible time to buy a house. If you want to buy a home because you are at a point in your life where that is what you want to do then it’s a decent time.

We were telling people from 07′ until this year to stay away from property, and now we believe that the time has come where you can make decisions rationally. It doesn’t sway it either way but you can at least get a good idea of some of the pros and cons involved.

Firstly, there is the property price register, there are issues with it – we have pointed this out before. While knowing what something sold for in the past gives no indication of the future selling price (and property is particularly heterogeneous) it …

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Property prices and property costs, they are not the same, so do you rent or buy?

We have seen a growing trend in our brokerage of people getting mortgage approvals (mainly first time buyers) and not drawing down, this might indicate some pent up demand in housing – which if it comes will be regular houses as opposed to apartments – or it indicates fear of buying in general.

The thing that is pervasive is the ‘price’ of housing, and the idea is to wait until we reach the bottom. That is a perfectly rational concept, and when you are not purchasing over a long term then the price now (we’ll take from financial market vernacular and call it the ‘spot price’ of housing) is the main thing to focus on.

However, that is only one part of the ‘price’ because the majority of new buyers are not buying for cash. The other price is the price of money, the financing costs. We indicated in our annual outlook that banks would, in 2011 alone, increase rates by a further 100bps or 1%, that any bank which isn’t government owned will have variable rates in the region …

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Can a bank take back my tracker mortgage?

There has been some talk of this lately, and it is an issue that we have raised concerns on in the past – to get the good news out early – there is only a very small chance that banks might ever actually do this, but just in case we already pointed this out in 2009 and early 2010.

We’ll assume though that it is going to happen (for the sake of this post), so how will they do it?

The recent points have been regarding the small print in some of the tracker contracts, one example below is taken from a KBC tracker contract, but suffice to say similar or other ‘same end result’ conditions exist in other contracts (click on the image to see a larger version).

In this example KBC have had every right to remove trackers from their clients since …

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Residential investment property report: Q3 2009

We are pleased to bring you the winter edition of our Residential Property Investor report for 2009.

(Click on the picture to the left to download it)

This time we teamed up with our friends at propertyweek.ie and MyHat.ie as well as with Frank Quinn who is a lecturer in Property Valuations in Senior College Dun Laoghaire to bring you what we feel is a very comprehensive overview of the Irish investment property market.

We used four different methodologies to look at valuations, discounted cash-flows, the investor method of property valuations, and then two unique versions that look at the performance of a property versus bank deposits factoring taxation in both leveraged and un-leveraged examples.

We have published the analysis element of what we have done and welcome any critique readers may have, we accept that every variance and eventuality can never be fully covered, having …

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Derek Braun vs David Cantwell on the Late Late show

Pat Kenny had two well known commentators on the Late Late show on Friday, David Cantwell a director with the largest new homes estate agent Hooke & MacDonald and Derek Braun author of ‘Irelands House Party’. The section on the show had some interesting debate and both sides had some valid points, some things however were not mentioned – for instance – Braun pointed out that huge profits were made on a certain south side development (and nobody doubts that) but there was no mention of the taxation that is paid via contributions to local councils, VAT, other taxation, paying bubble wages etc.

Cantwell spoke about property prices being at their bottom (granted this is only in his opinion) when considering the supply and other economic factors they clearly cannot be, as well as failing to mention some of the common sense home truths which Braun used to shoot down his arguments.

The only issue I have is that of all the developers I know only one isn’t going into liquidation, in a

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Rent or Buy the 5 year outlook

Today we are going to look at a comparison of renting vs buying with a five year outlook given the current interest rates, the yield outlook and lastly the cost of renting.

The following figures factor in real life examples taken from existing lending rates/rental prices and the forward estimation on rates is taken from presumptions in the current yield curve (chart is below). The terms applied in each example are 30 years, and the purchase is assumed to be a couple buying together, we can examine the impact for a single person in a separate post.

If you were to take a price of €313,000 for a two bed property (current average taken as a mean of prices in todays daft report – this figure is the Dublin average price across all geographic areas, the figures can be determined for any county the same way) and do the following.

1. Compare the total cost of ownership (we are not factoring in house insurance, bin …

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Rent, Dead money?

Is rent dead money? Are you throwing your money away? Should you rent or buy? This is a complex question but when you are trying to make up your mind keep some perspective.

Is rent dead money? Well, not really, you still have to live somewhere, people don’t say ‘why are you throwing your money away on food, or clothes to wear’. If a person asks you this ask them ‘Why throw away money on mortgage interest, property related taxes, management fees etc.’

As an investor there are one set of rules, as a homebuyer there are another, the same as the difference between a person who buys a car for personal transport or as an investment – when you buy for yourself you can get a functional car or a fancy one, equally there are standard and trophy home, a car as an investment is a trickier proposition.

The argument currently for a property purchase has more to do with credit pricing and the ability to afford to buy …

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Rent to Buy, why?

I had dinner in early 2008 with a man who was a retired builder, he told me about the way he used to do business back in the 70’s, and he told me ‘you wait and watch! It’ll be happening that way again!’, he was right, although at the time I didn’t realise that.

He said that back in the 70’s when people came to see his houses they’d say ‘how much is it?’, and he might say ‘£12,000’ to which they invariably said ‘we can’t afford that!’, and his approach was this – ‘what can you afford?’. He would then negotiate a deal with the buyer based on renting out the property with a view to buying or letting them have the property and paying him directly without having to go down the route of standard mortgages etc. and it worked, he was successful through the 70’s and 80’s and he retired in the mid-90’s before (as he said) ‘the real fun began’.

The point about this is that being able to work …

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