Monday, June 21, 2010

Economics 21/06/2010: Innovation economy - Irish Banks' Style

Corrected version: hat tip to Mack

One must commend the Sindo team for putting forward series of articles this weekend on negative equity. One linked here refers my statement, contained in a series of posts on the subject I published here, here and here.

Now, in a farcical move, the Irish banks are apparently working on a scheme to allow negative equity homeowners to roll their mortgage in excess of the value of the house into a new mortgage (details are here, alongside some good analysis). Now, suppose you have a LTV 80% (at origination) mortgage for €400K on a property bought in 2006 and in 4 years since your family has grown in size. You weren't reckless then - borrowing only 80% of the value of the house, and you are not greedy now - requiring just an extra bedroom for those additions to the family. Below are summary estimates of the deal the banks are working out for you as we speak:
In other words, were you to fall for the trap being set up by the banks under the guise of 'We are doing our bit to help people in trouble', you will be either pushed into a 162% LTV ratio 30 year mortgage (good luck getting out of this level of debt with an asset in surplus value) or you'd have to pony up €197,400 for the privilege of seeing your mortgage shrink by €36,000 (the difference between what remains on your mortgage today and the mortgage you'll be taking out under the deal.

This deal is, in short, a pure hogwash for the majority of people in negative equity. The farce will be when, following the deal release into the market, our Government and its paid-for 'analysts' start cooing over the great rescue package for the hardest hit families... Watch their lips.

Of course another amazing thing here is that after all the talk about barring 100% mortgages, the new product will push more vulnerable households into mortgages multiples of the 100% leveraging. Happy times are just around the corner folks.

At 4% annual growth in house prices, the new mortgage will yield a break-even between the debt and the asset value by the end of 2023, not factoring in the costs of repayment. The old deal, were the household to continue with the existent mortgage, would have recovered by the end 2020. Hmmm... looks like our real estate brokers are just a month or so away from a rush of purchasers into the market with this kind of 'new products engineering' courtesy of the Irish banks.

But pardon me for asking. The same homeowners who are about to be offered this 'new deal' by the banks are also providing cost-free rescue to the banks themselves, their management and bond holders, while subsidizing shareholders and developers. 'Mortgage holders' from the development end of business have non-recourse loans worth tens and hundreds of millions. They are being offered a full write-off with virtually no consequences. Households in negative equity are being asked to pay for that, plus to engage in reckless financial engineering projects. Am I getting something wrong here, folks?
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