#RealityCheck: Four in five voters want a review of Central Bank rules on first-time buyers

Newstalk/Red C poll finds 77% agree to some degree that Central Bank mortgage rules should be reviewed

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A Newstalk/Red C poll released today has found that a majority of Irish voters want to see a review of Central Bank rules on first time buyers.

With the debate on recovery, prosperity and austerity front and centre in the general election campaign the questions is, what changes can be made without repeating the mistakes of the past? Do the poll results suggest we may not have learned our lesson?

77% of Irish voters either slightly or strongly agree that “Mortgage regulations should be reviewed to make it easier for buyers to get on the property market or to trade up” – with 56% agreeing strongly, and 22% slightly agreeing.

Mortgage adviser Karl Deeter was in the studio with Pat Kenny this morning to iscuss the poll results, and the Central Bank’s mortgage rules.

Deeter believes the rules hit first time buyers the hardest, and he wants to see a finessing of the current rules, whereby reckless lending is still ruled out but larger loans are available to some borrowers, in the right circumstances.

“I’m definitely not in favour of reckless lending, reckless lending is awful. But a first time buyer getting a 90% loan when its done sensibly is a good thing”

Current rules enable banks to have discretion on lending, lending 15% above 80% of a loan and 20% of loans can be above three times a borrower’s income.

This leniency is however taken up by “the best ones,” Deeter says. Those with the best jobs and salaries get preferential treatment, he says, with the result that people on the average wage will face a major problem in getting the backing to buy a home.

“Finance discriminates. It always has, it always will,” he says,

“If you’re a real regular Joe, by that I mean you’re earning the average wage in this country, about 35,000, and you’re looking to buy a house, you’re going to have to save up a huge amount while if you’re renting in the area paying out an extortionate amount of rent.

The stringent rules are exacerbated by high prices in the rental market, which “act like an unofficial tax” Deeter says.

Listen below to Karl Deeter and Pat Kenny discussing the results of the Newstalk/Red C poll on the economy

In the lead-up to the General Election, experts, analysts and political commentators have pointed out that the issue of housing would be an important one for the parties.

Last week, Ciaran Hancock, Financial Correspondent for the Irish Times spoke to George Hook on the Right Hook about the housing issue, and how it will affect the election.