Business Irish

Thursday 22 March 2018

One in five buyers believes they can borrow more than Central Bank limit

Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan.
Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan.
Michael Noonan
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

One in five buyers believes they can secure a house without the full 20pc deposit that the Central Bank will enforce when planned mortgage limits kick in next year.

Nationally, the number of residential and commercial property transactions will hit 50,000 over the next 12 months.

The findings are from a major study of property buyers commissioned by Allsop Space auctioneers.

The research, based on a survey of buyers, suggests the number of property deals in the coming year will be almost double the 26,500 recorded in 2013.

Allsop Space is best known for its regular public auctions of property. Started during the worst period of the crisis, they have been credited with finding a floor for prices.

Research by economist Jim Power for the company found that almost half of all (43.8pc) prospective buyers who attend an Allsop auction now intend to borrow to fund their purchase.

A majority of those surveyed intend to buy over the coming year.

"The report is not about what we think about the property market, it's about what the buyers think. This is something in far less supply than the views of property agents and economists," Allsop Space managing director Stephen McCarthy said.

Of those who plan to borrow, just over 17pc say they will be able to borrow more than 80pc of the purchase price.

Their belief appears to be borne out when the Central Bank rowed back on its plan to limit mortgage lending by the banks, with tough new rules that will force buyers to come with the 20pc of their purchase price as a deposit.

The proposed new rules are due to come into effect from January.

However, on Saturday Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan indicated an easing-up in the planned regime.

The new rules would not have to apply in all cases, he said.

The Central Bank chief also said a separate mortgage insurance scheme, that is under consideration by the Government, could work here.

Under that plan the Central Bank will bring in its 80pc lending limit, but a bank would still be able to lend a further 10pc of a house price if it takes out special insurance.

That would allow home buyers to make their purchase with a 10pc deposit, while the bank is better protected against house price falls.

In its report, Allsop Space found most buyers expect house prices to rise next year, though fewer than 10pc think prices will increase by more than 20pc. Investors think commercial property prices will increase more slowly.

Among those surveyed, the supply of properties, or absence of supply, onto the market was seen as the biggest factor affecting the market.

The availability of credit and the wider economic environment are also seen as important. In contrast, the end of a lucrative capital gains tax break for commercial property investors was not regarded as important by 60pc of respondents.

New research from Ulster Bank, meanwhile, shows near-record rises in activity, new orders and employment in the construction sector in October.

The increases are from historically depressed levels but companies are now optimistic that activity will continue to expand over the coming year.

The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) tracks activity in the building sector.

The latest research showed the pace of growth is running at the second-highest since the survey began in June 2000, with November 2004 the only month to have seen a faster expansion.

For the first time since the crash, all three main construction areas - house building, commercial property building and infrastructure, are growing.

Almost a third of building firms were taking on new workers in October.

Irish Independent

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