They say you never forget your first – first (non-junior) Minister for Housing that is – and Simon Coveney has proven himself to be dogged and resourceful, most importantly, he is not afraid to build on the ideas of other. This is a rare thing in partisan politics but it is exactly what a seminal portfolio like housing requires. Would he make a good Taoiseach and FG leader? Undoubtedly, yes. Can the country afford to lose him from his current ministry at this time? I think not.
There can be no doubt that buyers, particularly in Dublin, are falling over themselves to secure whatever remaining homes they can get their hands on. We’ve seen the queues outside New Homes leaders, Sherry FitzGerald and, just last week, Hawthorn development in Clonskeagh sold 49 homes in one day…
In other news, architect Damien Murtagh has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for his architectural model building kit, Arckit.
And we welcome new Bank of Ireland chief, Francesca McDonagh as she makes the move from HSBC.
While not strictly property-related, readers may be interested to learn that the entire contents of the former Central Bank building on Dame Street are due to be auctioned on May 30, at the Heritage Golf Resort in Laois. These are thought to include over a thousand desks, chairs, computers and assorted office furnishings.
Oh, and you might be interested to learn that Dublin’s crane count is now in the mid 70’s.
The front page of property supplement this week is taken up with images of the most unusual property in a truly stunning, coastal location in Oranmore, County Galway. The property appears to be a large, ultra-contemporary (almost industrial?) structure on the same site as the beautifully, and sympathetically restored thatched cottage. This one took me a few moments to decide whether I loved or loathed it – I love it, all I need now is €1.25m and the patience for a six-hour, round-trip, daily commute! Here are the images and, bear in mind, these are all the same property:
The 4 of a kind this week features houses with private swimming pools. Over a decade spent house-hunting with clients, I was genuinely surprised at the number of seemingly modest homes around Ireland with pools. The properties included here are in Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford and they start from €285,000 (not a typo, that’s the asking price for a house with large garden, close to Ballymoney beach in Gorey).
Ronan Lyon’s column calls for the introduction of a public rental price register, similar to the property price register. This makes absolute sense, particularly when you consider that the information is already collated by the RTB. Of course, on the basis that the property price register took three decades to be published from the time it was first proposed, we won’t hold our breath.
Ronald Quinlan writes about the continuing success of Allsops as their latest online auction raised €26 million in sales last week.
Elsewhere in the paper
• Cork developer, Michael O’Flynn has spoken out about how private house builders and not public companies (like Cairn) will ultimately build the homes needed to ‘help beat crisis’.
• Charlie Weston is bemoaning the return of the Overseas Property Expo to Dublin (which incidentally happens next Tuesday at the RDS as part of the ARI Trade & Tourism Show and I for one can’t wait!).
The Sunday Times
No other supplement can compete with The Sunday Times when it comes to consistently beautiful interiors and when they tell the story of a property, they tend to capture the essence of the property based on the home and life it has provided for the current family of occupiers. They love property so if your Sunday reading is for pleasure and not necessarily market-watching, then you’ll be happy with this week’s offering. But what I find interesting for investors, is the value of the transformation of inner city apartments. For example, No. 5 Earlsfield Court on Francis Street in the Liberties area is asking €275,000, which sounds like a good deal for a two-bed property, just a five minute walk from Christchurch, that can yield close of €2,000 per month. But what about the capital appreciation? Just a year ago similar properties were selling from €180,000. Undoubtedly, the market has moved on and this has driven up prices, but it does not account for such a massive increase in value. If anything, it highlights the opportunities that remain for those brave buy-to-let investors who are sticking with property.
There’s a great article about Kilmainham and Inchicore (and the general Dublin 8 area) on page 4 that emphasises the opportunities for homebuyers and benefits of central living in an often-overlooked part of the city. I have long been a fan of Dublin 8 and Thomas Street in particular so I was delighted to hear whispers of plans to make it the ‘Innovation Quarter’ of Dublin!
For the last few weeks I have been following frustrated house-hunter Eithne Shortall as she writes about the trials of searching for an affordable home in Dublin. This week her column is a reaction to that now-infamous advice from an Australian developer, telling first-time buyers to give up their brunches and avocado toast in order to save for a home. Unsurprisingly, it did not go down well. Eithne’s biggest source of frustration appears to be the incongruence between asking and ultimate sales prices. She determines that her budget cannot keep pace with inflation, I would argue that this discrepancy has less to do with inflation and more to do with strategic pricing on the part of the seller. And it works (for the seller).
Elsewhere in the paper
• Niall Brady writes that AIB are putting a stop to new mortgages that seek exemptions from the Central Bank current lending rules, via its EBS and Haven broker units. Such applications will only be acceptable now through AIB directly.
• Also, the country’s largest non-bank lender, Finance Ireland, is apparently plotting its move into residential mortgages this year.
• Gavin Daly reports that Carin Homes three founders will receive €50m share payout this year as the homebuilders hit performance targets.
• Broadhaven (backed by Bain Capital) are to finance developers Regency in the acquisition of key sites and developments in Dublin.
• DCC has secured social housing at just one of the 51 currently planned, residential developments. Part V dictates that 10% of every development must be allocated to social housing prior to construction starting.
The Sunday Business Post
The Sunday Business Post is generally in touch with current homebuyers and homeowners, arguably more than other publications, and today’s front page offering is just so relevant right now. It is a feature on how to turn so-called ‘starter homes’ and even bachelor pads into workable family homes.
Donal Buckley writes that ‘Bullish development land market led by student housing demand’, particularly in the Dublin 1 area. For investors who have an interest in this growing sector, proptech company Property Button are hosting a webinar on the management of student lettings on June 1, 2017.
Elsewhere in the paper
• Sean Quinn Jnr was forced to withdraw his luxury penthouse from Airbnb (€400 per night) after objections from neighbours.
• A Chinese aviation company has set a new record for office prices by paying €70 per sq. ft. in Number One Ballsbridge.
• Jonathan Healy has a great feature on page 22 ‘If Cork builds it, will they come?’ and he explores why developers are slow to commit to the regional city.
• In the personal finance section, Emma Kennedy asks ‘Is rent support likely to be the next employee benefit?’. For competitive hires, I would argue that it already is.