17.9.09

Politician In My Pocket

That could be the title of Ireland's next entry to the Eurovision Song Contest - if its government persists with proposals to massively overvalue property assets as it bails out the banks.

Trouble is, it won't be the politicians singing for their dinner. They're saving that pleasure for the taxpayer, who'll be picking up the tab.

In plain terms, the higher the value placed on the property assets of insolvent banks, the bigger the bailout for the banks. That is a good thing if you think it will, once and for all, stabilise the Irish banks. However, if asset prices fall further, it puts a bigger hole in the taxpayers' pocket.

Note that NAMA, the National Asset Management Agency, has implications well beyond the nation's borders. Only 2/3 of the loans it holds are Irish, the rest depend on property prices elsewhere.

DO THE BUMP

The government takes 'current values' and bumps them up to a 'plateau value' which it deems more consistent with longterm prices.

If that weren't enough, half the Irish loans represent land, which has declined up to 95% in some places with rezoning.

As for yields, it bases them on Dublin, which represents a small fraction of the loan book.

The politicians then manage to capture residential property prices based on a current yield of 3%. As for prices plateauing at a higher level, not much chance of the sunny uplands says the man behind the research.

Which begs the question why use this methodology in the first place?

All credit to Ronan Lyons.

Ronan Lyons has since published his findings in the Irish Times.

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