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Inflation, prices, interest rates are rising… Isn’t it time to buy a house? What the experts say

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Inflation, prices, interest rates are rising... Isn't it time to buy a house?  What the experts say

Loss of purchasing power, tightening credit restrictions, an increase in the Euribor rate and a possible change in bank spreads… The real estate market may slow down, but industry experts say that house prices are unlikely to fall to a level worth waiting for

No turning back: Euribor rates, which serve as a benchmark for home loans, will achieve a positive result across all timelines later this year. Six years later 12-month index stopped being negative in April. The same should happen in June with the 6-month Euribor most commonly used in mortgage contracts in Portugal. Ah, there for October, in a three-month period.

The market outlook is that in a year, in May 2023, the 1.5% barrier will already be exceeded for at least two maturities of these base rates. Investors estimate that the 12-month Euribor is 1.75% at the time and 1.54% for 6 months. But the growth does not stop there: until the end of next year, the indicator should continue to grow.

“As of November 2023, the market expects rates to stabilize,” explains IMF analyst Filipe Garcia – Financial Markets Update. So anyone who wants to buy a house or already has an adjustable rate mortgage should expect an increase in the interest rate at each of their installment revisions.

Attention, Euribor may not be the only one

There’s a price at which pundits heard by CNN Portugal aren’t as unanimous in expecting growth: “spread.” That is, the cost charged by the bank for lending money. Will it increase in new contracts?

“This does not seem like a predictable scenario to me. We would have to face great financial difficulties from the banks,” explains Filipe Garcia. But if it grows, it could put even more pressure on families who want to take out a home loan.

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Banks tend to apply a spread of around 1.5% on average, says Fiipe Garcia. Which, taking into account the negative Euribor of recent years, forced families to pay interest of about 1% at the end of last year. Thus, for a loan capital of 100 thousand euros, the annual amount of interest will be one thousand euros. In May next year, if the spread continues, the cost of interest will be about 3250 euros per year (taking into account the positive Euribor and 1.75%, explains Filipe Garcia). However, the analyst says he expects growth in 2023 to be less intense than the market is predicting today.

Nuno Rico, an economist at Deco Proteste, acknowledges that the spread weight on new contracts could rise “in the face of deteriorating economic conditions” as banks find a way to mitigate risk as much as possible.

Buying a home now faces additional uncertainty (Getty Images)

Now or when?

As the 12-month Euribor approaches 2% by the end of 2023, the question is: “now or never” for those who are already planning to buy a house? The final decision is always yours, but given the signals that the market is giving, there are experts who point in that direction.

“The days of cheap credit may be numbered,” says Nuno Rico. And Pedro Lino, economist and administrator at DIF Broker and Optimize Investment, is inclined to agree: “For those who were already planning to buy a house next year, we are reaching the limit.”

Because the market is returning to what it has always been. After years of abnormally low (even negative) rates, which sharply spurred demand for credit, inflation dynamics were already pushing for a trend reversal, and the war in Ukraine only strengthened it.

Will there be an increase in Euribor that will again put families in a difficult position? History comes into play here, with reference to Euribor rates of 5% during the last financial crisis in 2008. “Then the consequences will be devastating for families,” Nuno Rico describes.

Hope for a market correction

With families losing purchasing power and borrowing costs rising, there may still be a horizon of hope for those looking to buy a home: the expectation that as restrictions tighten and the real estate market weakens, prices may fall.

But experts interviewed by CNN Portugal warn that for this reason it is better not to delay the purchase decision, not least because the supply remains limited by the country’s needs.

“We shouldn’t expect house prices to go down,” says Ricardo Guimarães, director of Confidencial Imobiliário. At best, he says, this new reality will create demand for other types of offerings. And Filipe Garcia reinforces: “I would venture to say that prices are falling hard with great difficulty. I believe there will be fewer transactions.”

“More than 80% of Portuguese families buy houses on credit. If credit is relatively more expensive and scarce, then naturally most of the demand tends to have more trouble buying,” admits Gonzalo Nascimento Rodriguez, real estate finance consultant.

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Economy

Miners and companies leave the cryptocurrency market en masse because it does not bring profit

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Mineração de criptomoedas

As we have been reporting over the past few weeks, the cryptocurrency segment is going through a less fortunate phase, with the valuation of currencies plummeting, leaving investors wary.

In this sense, this reality has several implications, including the fact that miners and companies operating in the sector are leaving the cryptocurrency market en masse as their mining is no longer profitable.


Miners and companies say goodbye to the cryptocurrency market

The cryptocurrency market is going through hard times and in particular, bitcoin, the most popular digital currency in the world, fell below $20,000 last Saturday (18), showing lowest value since December 2020. Not at the time of this writingthis cryptocurrency is worth $21,347.03.

So we are now seeing some of the repercussions and reactions to this fall in digital currencies. Recently, for example, we reported that we witnessed video card wholesale used for cryptocurrency mining.

And the latest news goes even further and indicates that, including due to the increase in the price of electricity, miners and companies investing in the cryptocurrency segment are now massively leaving that same market, since it has ceased to be profitable.

As you can see from the chart above, the TWh energy consumption related to Bitcoin had an interesting increase between mid-2021 and early 2022. But after some stable time, the same consumption has fallen sharply in past times.

At a peak of around 200 TWh, this consumption was the same as that spent by entire countries such as Argentina. Another interesting comparison is that this same consumption is equal to the amount of electricity consumed by all data centers around the world in a year.

But at the moment, even large companies that are betting on the practice of mining digital currencies are leaving this sector because they believe that it is currently a big problem when they cannot make a profit and bear the daily costs.

In addition, the energy consumption associated with Ethereum ends up having the same characteristics. As you can see in the chart above, there was a significant increase in January, which slowed down in recent weeks and then fell sharply.

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Economy

Prices have risen and uncertainty about the future advises saving. Find out how and where

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Prices have risen and uncertainty about the future advises saving.  Find out how and where

CNN Portugal spoke to an economist to see if the country should brace for a recession and put together some savings tips that could help mitigate the effects of a possible protracted economic crisis.

With a war in Ukraine with no end in sight, the times ahead will be challenging. Inflation continues to rise, while fuel, housing and raw materials lag behind. More and more important, though more difficult, is conservation.

Is a recession coming? According to Ricardo Ferras, professor of economics at the University of Lusofon and ISEG researcher, it is too early to talk about this scenario. “We know that the most recent forecasts from international organizations point to a slowdown in the Portuguese economy over the next few quarters. But, at least for now, they don’t see the country going into recession.”

“However, there is a huge unpredictability in the world, so any macroeconomic scenario has a high degree of uncertainty. and investments,” he added.

According to the economist, “a protracted economic downturn will certainly be synonymous with deep destruction of wealth. If household consumption and corporate investment collapse, there will be bankruptcies and layoffs.”

Since the beginning of the year, everything has risen in price and revenues do not keep up with this growth. According to a report by Ricardo Ferras, “Food and drink rose 7.6%” and combined “housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel prices rose 7.7%.” Only fuel increased by “an astronomical 20%”. And all this within five months.

To try and alleviate these difficult times ahead, CNN Portugal also spoke to Natalia Nunez of Deco’s financial protection team. Despite the difficulties, there are exercises that can be done daily and that can save tens of euros at the end of the month.

From housing, fuel and grocery shopping, here are some of the specialist’s recommendations.

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Public transport or own car?

  • follow public transport user, the main advice is to find the pass that best suits your needs if you are not a Unified Social Pass user. “Sometimes there are municipalities that do some kind of discount for people over 65 or for young people, and people don’t know about it,” recalls Deko;
  • If you live relatively close to work, you can always choose to walk or bike;
  • If you really need to use own car, since there is no public transportation that gives the answer, decide to share the car with other people, whether they are colleagues or friends who work in the same place or in the same area. So you can split the cost of fuel or tolls;
  • Before fill the car, always try to compare prices at different gas stations and choose the one that offers the most affordable prices. O website of the Directorate General of Energy and Prices can help you in this search;
  • Avoid using the car for short distances that can be covered on foot;
  • try to have one economical driving: Avoid aggressive driving, try to maintain a constant speed and do not always accelerate and brake. Keep engine RPM as low as possible by using higher gears to keep RPM low.

Prepare for a trip to the supermarket

According to Natalia Nunez, it is “important for families to know how much they spend on food every month” in order to be able to set savings goals. After this analysis, here are the most practical tips:

  • Make a list before you go shopping. And maybe it’s not a good idea to do it in your head. It’s best to look in your pantry and write down what you really need so you don’t buy items that you end up having to spend or use;
  • Make a meal plan it can also help to create an even more stringent shopping list because you end up only buying what you know you’re going to eat;
  • Set a budget. Do not shop without setting a limit on the amount you are willing or able to spend. According to Natalia Nunez, “it’s important to shop for a while” in order to “be able to see and compare all the prices.” Don’t forget that the cheapest prices are not always at eye level on the shelves, they can be higher or lower;
  • Don’t be tempted by promotions. It is important to have an idea of ​​the original price of the non-promotion product in order to know if advertising is really paying off, even if they are promotions packages;
  • Still in the field of promotions you should be aware of product expiration. This is because it may be useful to take, for example, two detergents, but this does not apply to yogurts. If the deadline is too short, “we run the risk of spending the money”;
  • Don’t go to the supermarket hungry. This is one of the factors that tends to induce the consumer to buy more than he really needs.
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Try to cook as much food as possible at home, trying to avoid food waste.

Is it time to reevaluate your mortgage?

Natalia Nunez reminds us that the most important thing in this area is “to look at the level of our efforts”. providing home loan should not exceed 35% of net profit. “This is the golden rule,” he explains.

If your mortgage payment is about 45% of your monthly net income, you should try to understand if your conditions match those of the market. If this is not the case, you should call the institution where you have a mortgage and try to renegotiate the terms.

You should also check if the spread matches the values ​​that are practiced in the market. As? Running some simulations on banks websites or on Banco de Portugal banking customer portal. These simulators can be used by anyone and are a “good source of condition checking”.

You should also check the amount of insurance associated with your home loan. When applying for a mortgage loan, an agreement is also concluded with an insurance company and, as a rule, people forget to check whether these values ​​are still being adjusted. The rule is the same as for the spread, simulate or contact insurance intermediaries.

What charges do you pay to the bank?

If you have a single bank account that always has a cost associated with it, namely maintenance costs, consider requesting that this account be converted to a minimum banking account. According to Decaux, this is a way to “reduce costs”;

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You may have already wondered if it makes sense to have a savings account. Natalia Nunez believes that she does this only if “it’s not very expensive.” To do this, “we need to seek and negotiate.” However, a savings account remains the most efficient way to save some money.

If you do not have a savings account, you should not do two things: keep the accumulated money in a checking account, that is, in the account that you use every day; or even keep money in an envelope at home.

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Economy

The Bank of Portugal leaves notices. Falling home prices are a risk

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The Bank of Portugal leaves notices.  Falling home prices are a risk

Manuel de Almeida / Lusa

Mario Centeno, Governor of the Bank of Portugal

Banco de Portugal warns of risks and vulnerabilities in the economy that could disrupt financial stability, highlighting, in particular, housing prices, as well as declining household incomes and banking disruptions.

The Bank of Portugal (BdP) semi-annual financial stability report published this Friday presents falling prices in the residential real estate market as one of the biggest risks to financial stability due to “changes in funding conditions”.

The alert that appears when interest rates have risen after several years in the negatives.

“In the context of the recent higher growth in home credit, it is important to ensure that it does not play a decisive role for price dynamics in the real estate market“, notes the BDP.

The institution notes that “despite the uncertainty caused by the pandemic crisis, housing prices “continues to grow in Portugal”what is reflectiondemand for housing from non-residents“And from”supply shortage“.

Thus, it is extremely important that Bank loan Portuguese taxpayers will not affect housing prices, which will lead, for example, to a fall, the supervisory authority points out.

The BDP also rejects the prospect of a significant increase mortgage loan defaultOh, because of rising interest rates.

“Default issues, especially home loans, are closely linked to the labor market, and the labor market has shown a strong resilience that few expected“, – said the head of the BdP Mario Centeno at a press conference.

Centeno adds that forecasts for the Portuguese economy “demonstrate an evolution compatible with the resilience of the labor market, which very positive“.

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Declining household disposable income

The BdP report also warns of the risk of a deterioration in the economic situation of families due to “decline in real disposable income“due to inflationand the impact of higher interest rates on debt service, to which is added uncertainty about the evolution of economic activity and employment.”

The BJP governor says he is not ignoring the fact that the monetary policy normalization launched by the European Central Bank in December 2021 includes an interest rate hike cycle “because very negative interest rates did not create favorable conditions for economic growth and financial stability, especially if they continued for a long time.” However, he points out that it is necessary to ensure that there are “sufficient tools to support this change in the monetary policy cycle“.

companies default

The BdP also highlights the increased likelihood of companies defaulting due to the macroeconomic environment with inflationary pressureas one of the main financial stability risks.

The report states that this default risk is due to the “combined effect financial vulnerability of some companiesincomplete recovery of activity and profitability of some sectors in post-pandemic“, as well as “the current macroeconomic and financial structure”.

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