Property market unlikely to pick up in 2011, survey finds

THE Irish property market is set to decline or, at best, remain static for the next 12 months, according to the majority of the country’s mortgage brokers.

A survey by the Professional Insurance Brokers Association, the country’s largest group of independent mortgage and insurance brokers, indicates poor prospects over the next year, with over 95% believing the market will either decline or remain the same and 5% expecting an improvement.

Almost 60% of brokers questioned also believe that the latest bank bailout deal will have absolutely no impact on lending practices. Most brokers also feel that not enough is being done to protect householders unable to meet mortgage payments.

The survey, conducted in April, found that 23% believe it will have a positive effect while a further 11% are convinced that it will impact negatively.

Rachel Doyle, director of PIBA Mortgage Services, says there is one clear message emanating from the survey. “The real problem is the lack of lending and that is directly impacting on the property market.”

“Had the banking crisis not been so severe the property market would most likely have bottomed out by now. There is strong evidence of an underlying demand but applications are being declined on a large scale.”

“Last Friday’s Central Bank figures show mortgage lending declining yet again in March, this time by 2.6%. These drops are taking place on already dramatically reduced lending figures. Mortgage lending had fallen by almost 60% between 2008 and 2009 alone,” she said.

On the issue of distressed mortgages, in the latest PIBA survey over 67% of brokers believe that the current measures to protect mortgage holders in distress are inadequate.

Ms Doyle says the sooner a comprehensive set of measures are put in place to support distressed mortgage holders the better.

“There is a fairly wide consensus at this stage that more needs to be done to help mortgage holders in distress. It is in the interest, not just of those who are in difficulty, but of the wider economy too, that the Government finalises, at an early date, its package of measures, some of which are set out in the Programme for Government,” she said.

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