ESRI encourages Central Bank to ease mortgage rules

In its latest quarterly economic report, ESRI suggests rules review because of low supply and low credit conditions

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) is encouraging the Central Bank to east its rules on mortgage lending.

The rules are designed to prevent overheating in the property market, but they come at a time when a lack of supply is causing a housing crisis.

Under Central Bank rules, first-time buyers must present a 10% deposit.

In its latest quarterly economic report, the ESRI says regulation is necessary but suggests the rules could be causing contraction and further restricting supply.

The authors of the report say measures could be eased - perhaps by changing the loan to deposit ratio required by lenders.

A revision of the rules is planned for later in the year; the ESRI says any revisions made must be transparent.

Kieran McQuinn from the ESRI told Newstalk Breakfast it will take three to four years for the housing supply to come back up to levels where demand can be met.

Meanwhile, the Institute is predicting economic growth of around 5% in 2016, and 4% in 2017.

That - in turn - will help bring wage growth of some 2.5% this year:

The ESRI also predicts that the unemployment rate will fall to below 9 percent by the end of this year and to under 8 percent by the end of 2017. 

Kieran McQuinn says: "Given the expected increases in personal consumption and investment in 2016, we expect the Irish economy to be quite near to its potential level by the end of 2016.

In 2017, we feel that the economy will grow marginally stronger than its potential growth rate at 4%."