Below are the main stories over the last seven days. As always, please do let me know if I have missed out on any interesting property news by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the biggest stories this week was confirmation of the purchase by Glenveagh Properties of a two-hectare site in Dublin’s North Docklands with the potential for 450 homes, full story here.
The Irish Times reported earlier this week that Dublin property prices have now risen by 86% since the crash (Link to story here: https://lnkd.in/e3ARZ9b) and the expected LPT receipts are on track to increase by €3 million in 2018. The same newspaper also confirmed the most recent (visible) crane count over Dublin at 80, with 57 of those south of the Liffey.
The property theme of this week, and indeed today across the Sunday broadsheets, appears to be one of competitiveness across the housing industry, with a focus on construction costs.
In the business section of the Sunday Independent, Dan White writes that “Housing costs damaging our competitiveness again“. He is reporting on a publication by the National Competitiveness Council last week which warned that “the shortage and cost of residential property is damaging competitiveness. It Impacts upon our attractiveness for mobile investment and talent. High rents affect decisions around Labour mobility and entrant employment“. You may link to the RTE coverage of this report and its findings here.
In a similar vein, the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) chief executive Tom Parlon has repeated his members’ calls for a temporary reduction in the VAT rate.
Winners and losers of 2017
In the property section of The Sunday times today, Move editor Linda Daly has an interesting feature calling out the ‘Winners and losers of 2017’. She declares homeowners and sellers to be the “clear winners“, while first time buyers continue to struggle with continued lack of supply and ever-increasing house prices. While it might be expected that home builders or developers would have been winners over the past year, the lack of incentives for the construction industry (not to mention the exorbitant prices being paid to secure development-ready land) means they are battling to keep delivery of new homes viable.
Grainne Rothery has a roundup of this year’s activity across the across the commercial market (office, investment, retail, hotels/pubs) on page 12 of The Sunday times business section today.
Unsurprisingly, 2017 is revealed as one of the busiest years on record for the office market in Dublin. Take-up there, by the end of the year is likely to reach 280,000 m² ( 18,500 m² delivered in the same period) making average rate of €667-€700 per square metre. According to Declan O’Reilly, offices director at Knight Frank, 80 percent of space that became available in 2017 is already let and vacancy rates might actually be as low as 7% in Dublin.
Other property news
- For home buyers, there was an article warning ‘Deposits at risk as developers drop protective clause: Non-conditional contracts mean buyers risk losing money if the sale doesn’t go ahead’ (you can find the article here). This relates to the ‘Subject to loan approval’ clause, with is standard – and important – in most new homes contracts. I see one of the busiest home building companies in Dublin, Victoria Homes, has already responded to this by confirming that, for mortgaged home buyers, the clause is always be allowed (read their take on this article here).
- The Independent earlier this week reported that tech workers from all over the world are moving to Cork for a better life: Full article here
- The lead story in the Sunday Independent today is by Jody Corcoran following an exclusive interview with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, wherein he concedes that housing is the “most pressing problem” faced by the Government. He talks about tackling homelessness, reducing housing waiting lists and the affordability of homes for people, however, it is all rhetoric and there are no solid solutions proposed that we haven’t heard about over the last few months and years.
- While it might not look like a housing story on the face of it, the recent increase in divorce figures (up 25% in three years) will certainly have an impact on the marketplace. Wayne O’Connor writes today that ‘Divorce spike as middle class can afford separation: Unhappy marriages end because couples can pay to live apart’. This trend, if it can be described as such, will likely result in former family home is coming to the market and perhaps smaller homes, both houses and apartments, increasing in demand.
- Samantha McCaughren, in her Ergo column in the Sunday Independent today writes that Glenveagh Properties has apparently headhunted former head of planning at Nama, Chris McGarry and CBRE executive director Wesley Rothwell to join the management team.
- Stephen O’Brien, political editor with The Sunday Times reports that Sligo is set to be named the regional capital of the northwest in the national planning framework (draft plan Ireland 2040) next month.
- Planning permission has been sought by the Carlisle Trust to develop a seven-storey office block on Townsend Street in Dublin 2.
- One of the most speculated about residential sites in South Dublin, the one-time home of former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, at Beechpark, Scholarstown Road in Templeogue is expected to come to the market shortly. The 16 acres of zoned land has an estimated value close to €20 million and is likely to attract competitive bidding.
- Over the past few months I have mentioned various models for retirement villages and community housing for older people. Today, Cian Molloy asks the question “is community housing the way to meet the needs of old and young alike?“ for people interested in this, I suggest researching some Scandinavian models and perhaps watch the proposed development by Xavier McAuliffe on the site of the Lyrath Hotel in Kilkenny.
- Michael Brennan, writing in The Sunday Business Post today has a piece ‘Fianna Fáil demands guarantees on rural housing in 20-year plan’. This plan refers to the National Planning Framework, aided by the draft Ireland 2040 plan, which intends to provide a strategy for delivering upon the housing needs across Ireland over the coming decades. The opposition party looking for guarantees in relation to the one-off housing policies to ensure that houses can be built in the countryside into the future, as they see this as essential to maintaining local communities and keeping local schools and businesses open.
- For industry people who are watching the ongoing court dispute between Johnny Ronan and Balark investments (part of Marlet Property Group), Tom Lyons writing on page 6 of The Sunday Business Post today reports that developer Greg Kavanagh has apparently been subpoenaed as a witness to be cross-examined in relation to the dispute.
- While it is not strictly property-related, Niall Brady, writing in The Sunday Times today has an article about Michael Fingelton and other executives, describing how they have “turned the tables on the Irish Nationwide enquiry“. This lengthy piece is on Page 5 of the Business section today for those who wish to know more.
- For construction news, the CIF magazine this month leads with an article ‘Realising the Construction Industry’s Potential to Build Ireland’s Future’, written by yours truly (that’s my declaration of bias!), however, the entire issue is packed with insights from Irish and international speakers who addressed industry members at the CIF annual conference in October: Click here for magazine access
- Construction Information Services (CIS) circulated a visual of the planed €2.4bn Metro North project in Dublin, which is currently at pre-planning stage. For project details via CIS, click here: http://bit.ly/2ksoNPl
- PUNCH is providing civil & structural engineering design services for the construction of a new student care centre at the University of Limerick. The proposed 3,500sq.m three storey over basement building is on a prominent site in the heart of the campus and will provide a central core for the growing student population at the University (link to an article in The Limerick Leader here).
- The world’s tallest modular scheme has been approved, check out Construction Manager Magazine for the full storey here.
- Three years on from the RIPPLE shipping container build, I came across this piece (published three years ago) that serves to highlight just how little progress has been made; ‘The changing face of housing in Ireland’ http://buyersbroker.ie/blog/2014/12/the-changing-face-of-housing-in-ireland/
The big news this week comes from the UK where an Essex house becomes the first UK property to be paid for by Bitcoin – surely an Irish Bitcoin purchase cannot be too far away. We know that purchasers have tried to use cryptocurrencies through at least two of the larger Irish estates agencies and a few of the smaller ones in 2017 but none were in a position to facilitate; perhaps this should be an industry target for 2018? Link to the full article here: http://bitcoinist.com/essex-house-becomes-first-uk-home-to-sell-for-bitcoin/
One of the most respected UK proptech people Dan Hughes (am I permitted to use the word ‘guru’ at least once in every round-up?) has published his look back at the proptech highlights of 2017 here: https://twitter.com/i/moments/927598019712815104
Also, KPMG’s recently published global proptech survey found that 34% of respondents have a clear technological innovation business vision and strategy and a further 34% are working on developing one at the moment. Click here for a full read of the ‘Digital roadmaps direct businesses to the future’ Insight via Property Week.
Enterprise Ireland are now advertising their new Agile Innovation Fund as “Responding to the threats and opportunities posed by Brexit demands innovation“. There is up to 50% of funding available for R&D projects up to €300,000. Check out their website on www.ambition.enterprise-ireland.com
To keep up-to-date on all things tech and innovation for the planning, construction and property industries, head over to http://www.prop-tech.ie, the national resource website for innovators, investors and mentors or email mailto:email@example.com .
Property Insiders Guide
As many of you might know, my annual property book The Irish Property Buyers’ Handbook (since 2011) has undergone a rebrand for 2018 and will now appear as part of The Property Insider series, published by Oak Tree Press, the first three titles are now published and available here.
On a personal note, thank you all for your continued support. I genuinely appreciate it.
As mentioned last week, the Simon Community, Focus Ireland and Peter McVerry Trust have joined forces to set up the Refund Project. This is an excellent initiative appealing to people who are in a position to donate their Irish Water refund. The refunds are estimated to amount to €173 million. While many families will need this refund, for others, the money spent will already have been written off and this might be a way to help with our homelessness crisis in time for the Christmas period. If you can support this critical work, through these credible organisations, you can donate at refundproject.ie .
(Finally, as always, apologies for any typos, it’s difficult to get good help on a Sunday!)