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More money, more problems

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By Michael O’Connor

This week, the Central Bank eased their lending limits to allow first-time buyers to borrow up to four times their income, an increase from 3.5 times set in place following the housing bubble fiasco of 2008.

I appreciate that for those looking to buy a house in the current market, this represents an opportunity to finally get on the property ladder and is welcome support.

However, the reality is, it is these extended credit facilities that have driven house prices higher over the last 30 years. Creating financial mechanisms to allow home buyers to tie themselves to more and more debt is not the solution that is needed.

Imaginary Wealth

Wage increases are not the factor driving the housing market to 'unaffordable' prices. Our new-found ability to justify these surging prices is thanks to some banking wizardry.

Longer mortgage terms and lower and lower interest rates have ensured that monthly payments are as affordable as they have ever been.

Yes, €500,000 is a sizeable mortgage, but if you spread it out over 35 years at historically low-interest rates, suddenly it seems justifiable, manageable even. The bidder most willing to shackle themselves to this life sentence 'wins'.

But what happens as interest rates rise? The very thing we thought we could afford is no longer affordable as the terms of the deal change.

All this credit in the system stops working when the cost to borrow starts to increase. We no longer can afford the things we thought we could afford. The imaginary wealth we thought we had, disappears.

And yet the solution from the Central Bank is to allow more leverage in the system in a rising interest rate environment.

Can't afford a home?

Not to worry, we will just lend you more money so we can prop up this house of cards just a little longer.

Pumping more money into an already inflationary environment does the exact opposite of what is needed. Instead of addressing supply issues and regulatory issues, they continue to focus on mechanisms to help justify current prices.

The Root of the Problem

Increasing the leverage in the system just kicks the can down the road. Currently, the data shows that home sales are slowing dramatically in the face of higher interest rates and a slowing economy. We are in the middle of a stand off between buyers and sellers. Buyers who can't afford to purchase at current prices as interest rates rise and sellers who don't want to sell at a price lower than their neighbour sold for.

Instead of leaving the market dynamics of supply and demand play out, allowing some downward pressure on house prices, the Central Bank has thrown a bone to sellers and disguised it as a benefit for buyers. They hope that this attempt to 'help' buyers stretch just a little further will be enough to keep the wheels turning. It won't.

Once Again

Allowing more leverage in the system to help justify higher and higher prices is not the answer. Doing it in the face of inevitably higher interest rates is simply thoughtless.

We simply didn't build enough homes following the last housing crash to meet the demand coming from millennials reaching their household formation years.

Perhaps addressing this generationally undersupply would be a more worthwhile endeavour instead of extending lines of credit, the very thing that facilitated this price surge in the first place.

Just a thought.

To learn what companies to invest in, and for direct access to my personal investment portfolio, go to www.theislandinvestor.com.

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Festive jumpers and a Kerry jersey brings fundraiser to €10k

By Michelle Crean Jumpers have helped to raise almost €10k so far – but now it’s a very special jersey which could drive the fundraising numbers up! A Kerry football […]

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By Michelle Crean

Jumpers have helped to raise almost €10k so far – but now it’s a very special jersey which could drive the fundraising numbers up!

A Kerry football jersey signed by the 2022 All-Ireland winning team is up for grabs via a fundraising link once a donation is made to the Presents for Palliative fundraiser.

On Friday eight local schools including Holy Cross Mercy, Killarney Community College, Presentation Monastery, Lissivigeen, St Brendan’s College, St Brigid’s, St Francis Special School, and St Oliver’s
swapped their uniforms for their most colourful festive gear with funds going to help the amazing services in the Palliative Care Unit/Kerry Hospice Foundation.

“The day took place across the schools involved last Friday (December 2) and looks like it has been a success,” teacher Elaine Moynihan from St Brendan’s College told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The donations from the schools are still being counted but students look to be on their way towards making their goal of €10k.”

The iDonate ‘Fundraising For Kerry Hospice Foundation’ has been very helpful in this regard, she added.

“Anyone who donates via the link and leaves their name will be in with a chance to win a Kerry jersey signed by the 2022 All-Ireland winning team which will be presented to them before Christmas by a couple of members of the team.

“This was organised by the students involved in the fundraiser as a way to say thanks, and give back, to the members of the community who have gotten involved in the event – the link is live until December 18 and the draw will be made the following day.”

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Killarney punter secures €50,000 in EuroMillions draw

A lucky Killarney punter got an early Christmas present when they scooped €50,000 in the EuroMillions ‘Ireland Only Raffle’. The winning ticket, sold in the Lidl supermarket on the Tralee road, was […]

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A lucky Killarney punter got an early Christmas present when they scooped €50,000 in the EuroMillions ‘Ireland Only Raffle’.

The winning ticket, sold in the Lidl supermarket on the Tralee road, was valid for Tuesday night’s special draw.

The Killarney winner was one of 10 who each secured the €50,000 windfall.

“The National Lottery can reveal that three players in Dublin, three players in Cork and one player in Kerry, Roscommon, Kildare and Wexford all scooped the special raffle prize which was the seventh of 12 draws in the National Lottery’s ’12 Draws of Christmas’ promotion,” said a National Lottery statement.

The eighth draw will take place tonight (December 9) where 10 more players are guaranteed to win the amazing prizes.

Meanwhile, a player in Belgium scooped the EuroMillions Jackpot prize worth an astonishing €142,897,164.

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