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Dublin: 12°C Tuesday 20 October 2020
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The Briefcase: Bubble busters, more budget babble and startups as far as the eye can see

This was the week in business.

A bit how the Central Bank felt this week
A bit how the Central Bank felt this week
Image: carterse

IF YOUR DAYDREAMS involve lurid fantasies of marble benchtops and heated towel rails, then they may have taken on a nightmarish quality over the past few days.

While others in economic circles were talking tax brackets, “neutral” budgets and economic-growth forecast, those property-bubble popping killjoys at the Central Bank sneakily rolled out their new mortgage rules.

But just in case you were taking a self-imposed sabbatical from all things financial and missed the head-scratching about what you can and can’t borrow come next year, here’s a quick wrap-up of that and all other things equitable from the week that was:

Need to know

Buying a house just got that bit harder for some

After sending up a warning flare about the plans late last week, the Central Bank unleashed on Tuesday with bubble-busting, mortgage-lending rules.

New borrowers would be banned from being given more than 80% of a property’s value, meaning house hunters now had to stump up a minimum 20% deposit.

The bank also put a cap on the amount people could borrow compared to their income – 3.5 times what they were making, to be exact.

True, lenders will still have some leeway to write up business outside the framework, but the practical outcome of the plans is that most new borrowers will need to make more money and save more money to get in on the property market.

The Central Bank said the move was the most prudent way to go to forever banish the cowboy lending practices of the bubble years to the history books – and it got the thumbs up from many economists, like TCD’s Ronan Lyons.

Source: IrishMortgageBrokers/YouTube

But others such as the Irish Mortgage Brokers weren’t fans (although that’s hardly surprising) with a post on their blog calling the changes “perhaps the greatest example of pointless intervention we have seen in recent years”.

Most importantly, the changes sent many potential home buyers scrabbling for the calculator to work out if that place they had been eyeing off was now out of their reach.

And for property shoppers in the capital, the out-of-reach could mean a lot of places, based on the latest Daft.ie price report*.

It puts the average asking price for a two-bedroom terrace in Dublin’s north at €209,000 – so buyers considering similar digs would now need to be earning the better part of €50,000 a year.

Lest we forget the plight of those with larger budgets and their eyes on more stately homes, our number crunching shows that an abode like the six-bedroom Sorrento House in Dalkey, going price €12 million, would now strain the budget with a €2.4 million deposit… and exclude all but those on an annual salary in the ballpark of €2.75 million.

Sorrento Dalkey's Sorrento House - nice spot, right? Source: Daft.ie

But in the event anyone has forgotten about the kind of pre-crash craziness that the Central Bank wants to stamp out forever more, here’s a little blast from the past – circa 2007 – from funnyman Keet Machoos on the new Irish disease of “equity-f…ing-itis”:

It’s actually changed the way we talk to our kids – Irish phrases have had to be re-written because of this property boom. In Jack and the beanstalk the only reason he climbed up to the top of the beanstalk was because there was a castle he was going to rent out up there for the Ryder Cup.”

Source: keetmachoos/YouTube

Nice to know

Government's Entrepreneurship Plans Q: How many ministers does it take to make a jobs announcement? Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

  • Restaurants and hotels were accused of profiteering on their special tax rate at the expense of customers and workers. SIPTU, Ireland’s biggest trade union, accused the hospitality industry of keeping most of the cash themselves – although a lot of the data would suggest otherwise
  • Irish workers don’t like Mondays, or at least waste little time at their desks every working week before they start browsing the job ads. New analysis from job site Indeed revealed 9am on Monday morning was the peak time for desktop job searches in this country. And our own poll showed an apparently dissatisfied bunch with 44% of respondents saying they were thinking about or planning a move

Unemployment poll

Now you know

  • “Ireland’s Bernie Madoff”, aka Celtic Tiger conman Breifne O’Brien, was jailed for seven years for scamming his friends and acquaintances out of €8.5 million in a classic Ponzi scheme
  • LinkedIn announced it was building a new international HQ with space for 1,200 workers in Dublin, although the oddly-secretive tech company wouldn’t say exactly how many people it planned to hire

One for the road

For all the Dublin Airport fans out there (you know who you are) who have dreamed of flying their own Ryanair special into the capital’s aeronautic hub, your wait is over.

German company Aerosoft has launched the first Dublin Airport simulator for the low-low price of only €25.99. Here’s a little video to get your wings flapping:

Source: Aerosoft GmbH/YouTube

(Daft.ie and TheJournal.ie has some shareowners in common).

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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