Saturday 7 December 2019

Hard-working couples hurt by strict loan rules

The rules were intended to make the financial system safer. But they have been attacked for depressing the growth of house prices (Stock picture)
The rules were intended to make the financial system safer. But they have been attacked for depressing the growth of house prices (Stock picture)
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

The Central Bank clearly doesn't do the "bleeding obvious," one must presume. If it did would it calling for evidence of the impact of its mortgage rules? Soaring rents, a generation unable to meet the massive deposit levels now demanded and an inability to access finance, are all evidence of the negative impact of the bank's rules. The State's financial watchdog is also to hold a review of the measures.

But announcing the move, its Deputy Governor, Sharon Donnery, stressed that while the mortgage rules may in the future be amended, they were introduced as permanent features of the Irish mortgage market. So what is the point in conducting a review if the caps are here in perpetuity?

The rules were intended to make the financial system safer. But they have been attacked for depressing the growth of house prices, and blocking the building of more.

There is no denying that some banks were guilty of reckless lending during the boom. Responsible borrower standards for first-time buyers were required. But the bank is being too rigid. Being responsible does not mean that they cannot be reasonable. There must be scope for lending restrictions to be eased.

Those with a track record of loan repayments or rent payments should qualify for mortgages. There is no desire to return to the bubbles of the past but the 20pc deposit rule pushes the dream of owning a home beyond the hopes of a generation. This heaps further pressure on the rental sector as well as ramping up dependency on social housing.

Victimising the prudent and hard-working couples all over the country for the sins of irresponsible bankers and buccaneering builders - who rode their luck to ludicrous degrees and dragged the whole economy into the red zone - is simply not fair. The people who picked up the tab for the crash through a host of taxes and levies, are now to be further punished by being precluded from owning their own homes because it is impossible to scrape together a deposit of €51,000.

Last year Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said he felt the regulations were a form of "social engineering" geared towards moving the Irish people away from home-ownership altogether. If this actually the intention then it ought to be explicit, and the Government must state whether it supports it.

Bonne chance to France and all going to the Euros

Jean Paul Sartre would not have cut it as a soccer pundit but the Frenchman did say: “In football, everything is complicated by the presence of the opposite team.” 

The Euro 2016 tournament has been further complicated by unprecedented security in the face of heightened terror threats. If that was not sufficient, unions have also targeted the tournament to unleash a tidal wave of industrial chaos. But the French have refused to bow to those who would seek to bring mayhem to a great sporting showcase. To deal with the terrorists first; in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, President Hollande told the world that  although his country was bruised, France would choose life over fear, and fear was all that the terrorists had to offer.

As for the industrial chaos; once the first ball is kicked, things will simmer down as the full force of football’s gravity proves irresistible.

And once again the Green Army has dusted off their inflatable hammers and are on the march. Whatever happens on the pitch, colour, good craic and a healthy engagement between Gael and Gaul is bound to make for memorable moments. To the fans, teams and the French who refused to be cowed, we simply say ‘Bonne Chance’.

Irish Independent

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