It has been a quiet few weeks on the construction and housing front as most firms shut down for the holidays. It’s back to business next Monday for most, so, if you have been relaxing on a beach or holidaying with in-laws for the last few weeks, it’s likely that you are ready to get back to work – here’s a quick catch up on what you might have missed:
Sunday Business Post
While not strictly-speaking a property piece, there’s an in-depth feature on page 10 by Stephen Kinsella that is worth a full read. “Ireland is one of the richest countries on earth. But we have had a lost decade. Like the first lost generation almost 100 year ago, we will continue to live with the damage of those years.”
On page 11, Barry J Whyte interviews the head of the Housing Agency, John O’Connor, with the headline ‘Approach to house building could wreak Irish communities’. In it, the housing chief tells how ‘Ireland is taking entirely the wrong approach to house building – one that could lead to hundreds of hollowed-out communities for the next 30 years’. This comes back to the prevailing policies that led to the wrong types of homes being built in the wrong areas. Ever-increasing sprawl is not the answer. O’Connor believes that the state needs to assert itself more in making development happen, for instance, by using the private sector but still dictating the way they develop. He also calls for the state to facilitate smaller builders.
- Passage Heathcare (US-backed Irish operator) ‘guns for major share of Irish nursing home market’, which could see them potentially own 1,200 beds, with €40 turnover.
- There is no real property section this week; however, page 20 carries an article on designing for happiness by Roisin Lafferty, which looks at how our use of space is evolving.
- German fund, Quadoro Doric, has acquired One Grand Parade in Dublin 6 for in excess of €23 million (up 27% on the price Credit Suisse paid just two years ago).
The Sunday Times
Page 4 carries a piece by Stephen O’Brien ‘Minister summons council chiefs to tackle crisis’; apparently housing minister Eoghan Murphy is to host an emergency summit on housing and homelessness in September for all local authorities as he feels that they are not treating the crisis “with the urgency it requires”. This comes on foot of most recent figures showing 1,876 children were homeless in 2016. Funding and resourcing is no longer the issue, the minister has said that local authorities will have to do more of the heavy lifting in identifying supply opportunities and moving projects along. Local councils have been asked to furnish updated plans to deal with the housing crisis. This sounds good in theory but we need to be mindful that most local authorities are inexperienced at delivering housing at scale and do not even have the in-house expertise and skills that they had decades ago. It’s fine for the minister to say that resources will not be the issue but strong technical leadership is required and I am not convinced that many councils (if any) have this.
- Apparently the new chief justice, Frank Clarke, has ‘made millions from property investment’ over the past decade as part of a partnership involved in developing and financing commercial property across Ireland.
- Marlet Property Group (Pat Crean) has applied for planning for a 10-storey office block on the site of the former Screen Cinema and College House on Townsend Street, Dublin 2. It will be interesting to see how this application is received, particularly in light of recent decisions for Ronan Real Estate Group in the Dublin 2 area (Tara Street)
- The featured property on the front page of the property section this week is a truly stunning, restored Georgian home, 106 Leeson Street. Despite six decades in office use, the building has been returned to its original purpose, and retains many of its original features. Listed through Hunters Estate Agents, quoting €1.495m, this is sure to appeal to flush buyers currently house-hunting in Dublin 2. Properties like this, so close to the city centre and tastefully restored are a rarity on the market today.
- There’s an interesting article in the Money Section (page 5) about what to do with a shared property when things don’t go according to plan; how best to split the property (really the mortgage) when negative equity is still an issue. This applies more to properties shared by way of joint tenants rather than an tenants in common or joint venture.
- Gavin McLoughlin writes that ‘Housing crisis threatens to switch off supply of tech staff’. This is a recurring story but it is one that people/companies unaffected failed to take seriously to date. Now, with Brexit relocations boosting an already heated-up commercial and residential in Dublin, employers are starting to voice their concerns at this worrying trend. A proptech company in Dublin, Property Basecamp (founded by Tom Courtney) has secured first call on a huge bank of homes in the Docklands and close to the main business districts around the capital for re-locating employees so it might be a worthwhile service to check out.
On Wednesday, I will be joining the Morning Show on East Coast FM to discuss the construction sector in Ireland right now, the controversial Help-to-Buy scheme and why the focus of Budget 2018 will need to be on infrastructure – tune in or listen back when you get a chance.
Finally, just a quick reminder that the Irish Property Buyers’ Handbook is being updated for 2018 and I would love to hear about any experiences in the market or new services, technology and trends for buyers. As always, you are welcome to email me with any industry news and updates at Carol@CarolTallon.com.