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Recalling the Celtic Tiger

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Edited By Eamon Maher, Eugene O'Brien and Brian Lucey

This book looks at various effects, symptoms and consequences of the period in Irish culture known as the Celtic Tiger. It will trace the critical pathway from boom to bust – and up to the current beginnings of a similar, smaller boom – through events, personalities and products. The short entries offer a sense of the lived experience of this seismic period in contemporary Irish society.

While clearly not all aspects of the period could realistically be covered, the book does contain essential information about the central actors, events, themes, and economic trends, which are discussed in a readable and accessible manner. Each entry is linked to the overall Celtic Tiger phenomenon and its immediate aftermath.

The book also provides a comprehensive account of what happened in this period and will be a factual resource for anyone anxious to discover information on the areas most commonly connected to it. All entries are written by experts in the area. The contributors include broadcasters, economists, cultural theorists, sociologists, literary critics, journalists, politicians and writers, each of whom brings particular insights to some aspect of the Celtic Tiger.

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100% mortgages (Constantin Gurdgiev)

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Constantin Gurdgiev

100% mortgages

The Irish banking sector’s weapons of mass destruction, 100% mortgages, were dangerously risky loans that required persistently rising property prices to sustain banks’ balance sheet values and risk-weightings. As such, these mortgages reflected the endless overconfidence, at times reaching into arrogance, of the Celtic Tiger-era Irish economic policy and finance.

100% mortgages were first introduced in Ireland in 2005, near the top of the housing prices valuations, and in the heyday of the Celtic Tiger. At first, restricted to cover only the house price, these mortgages subsequently evolved, under some lenders’ terms and conditions, into linked loans that provided funds not only to cover the agreed purchase price of the property, but also the stamp duty and, in rare cases, some ‘holiday money’.

Originally opposed by some members of the government, the 100% mortgages were welcomed by both the Department of Finance and the Irish Financial Regulator who dismissed any concerns about the risks involved in bank-lending on residential property with zero down payment by the buyer. By doing so, the Irish Financial Regulator de facto abandoned enforcement of any loan-to-value ratios in residential mortgage lending, setting the stage for the spectacular collapse of the Irish banking system in 2008–10. 100% mortgages rapidly accelerated inflation of the property bubble in Ireland that, by 2005, was already showing signs of residential property prices over-valuation to the tune of 30–40% above fundamental values.

By mid-2006, roughly...

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