Below is a weekly catch-up on the property stories that caught my attention. As always, please do let me know if I have missed out on any interesting property news by emailing email@example.com.
In terms of the broadsheets, The Sunday Business Post is the one to pick up today for the most comprehensive housing market coverage and construction sector news. This paper also has the Enterprise Ireland ‘100 Hot Start-ups’ magazine inside it this week.
Your Sunday Read today is another ‘Sunday sit-back and watch’ – apologies for anyone who is sick of me sharing Ted Talks (if my teenage daughter cannot get me to stop, no-one will!):
All the talk of Project Ireland 2040 just me researching how other countries manage to do this, and then I found a guy who is trying to imagine this on an interplanetary scale…
Adventures of an interplanetary architect
Trending Property Stories
For in-depth coverage of the ongoing battle over the right of PTSB to sell further mortgages to so-called ‘vulture funds’, The Sunday Business Post has a full feature entitled bought and sold. For anybody following the story, this is the most insightful commentary from any of the broadsheets today. It makes for harrowing reading, with revelations about the Regulator and about barbers being forced to sign gagging orders.
While the SBP commentary is genuinely excellent, here is a slightly different perspective on this – Political stunts won’t scare vultures: The market speaks louder than political theatre:
Co-living has featured regularly in industry media over the last month or two, since global leaders Node came together with Irish start up Sroomm (founded by Ed Burke) to announce their arrival into the Irish market (apartment reservations taken from March 1st). Following hot on their heels, Marlet Property Group have signal their intent to get involved in this emerging sector, calling for existing apartment guidelines to be amended in order to provide for greater size and privacy within co-living spaces. This is unlikely to be fad, and such alternatives to the traditional two-bed apartment rental and three-bed, suburban semi, starter home is to be welcomed.
The big story of the last two weeks is Project Ireland 2040, the National Planning Framework (NPF). Last week I shared the most insightful commentary so here are two strong pieces from the dozen or so that I read over the past seven days:
- How will Ireland 2040 be delivered? For starters, we need more brickies, tilers and plasterers: Ireland 2040 has big plans – but will we have enough construction workers to deliver government pledges: http://www.thejournal.ie/construction-sector-2-3864589-Feb2018/
- The right moves: Culture change needed for National Planning Framework to succeed: https://amp-independent-ie.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/amp.independent.ie/business/commercial-property/the-right-moves-culture-change-needed-for-national-planning-framework-to-succeed-36628861.html
Other property news
- Long journey to get past development roadblocks nears end. Government credibility staked on strategic development zones and fast-track planning: https://www-irishtimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.irishtimes.com/business/construction/long-journey-to-get-past-development-roadblocks-nears-end-1.3402325?mode=amp
- Starting on the front page of the SBP, Tom Lyons has an article about Facebook’s proposed new campus, that could potentially how’s over 5000 people, at the AIB Bankcentre in Ballsbridge.
- The same writer has a piece about developer Seamus Ross, who is apparently considering stock market listing in order to raise funds to develop a landbank he owns in Leinster. It is interesting to see this being such an accessible option to developers in Ireland at the moment.
- Colin Coyle, writing in The Sunday Times today reveals that plans by Bartra Developments (Richard Barrett) to build three houses, two apartments, a cafe and a boat building workshop at Bullock harbour in Dalkey have been refused by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on the basis that the harbour is zoned for waterfront, Marine and harbour-related uses, which does not include residential.
- Property editor with The Sunday Times, Linda Daly, writes on page 7 today that nearly one in eight country house sales goes to Far Eastern investors, which is on par with UK buyers. These properties are traditionally listed as the luxury market in Ireland and have long attracted international attention. At the moment, it appears that Chinese buyers and investors are leading the charge, generally presenting us cash buyers. One of the reasons given is that there is a desire to have their children educated here in Ireland.
- Kingspan’s chief executive Gene Murtagh has repeated warnings about a slowdown in the UK construction sector, which he has spoken about on previous occasions. While his company has recorded profits of €377 million for 2017, the collapse of Carillon in recent months and the more recent profit warnings for large homebuilders in the UK means that nobody can take that sector for granted in 2018.
- Jack Horgan-Jones in the SBP reports that Ires Reit is apparently considering “major acquisitions“ in Cork as “yields tighten considerably in the Irish market“. Meanwhile in The Sunday Times, Gavin Daly writes that Ires is redefining its business to look at commuter areas of Dublin…
- Nick Webb writes that developer Ray Grehan’s family are apparently “ramping up their house building efforts“. His son and daughter own shares in Montane Properties, which is currently building more than 250 homes in County Kildare.
- Investi, a new property investment company founded by Aidan Scully, former MD of Markland Homes (JV with titans Paddy Kelly and Sean Mulryan), gets a nice profile on page 6 of the SBP today. The company has advised its private clients on €40 million worth of property deals in the last year. In the future, the company head Spoke of the pressures at the height of the crash when he had “five banks knocking on my door and four kids under the age of eight“. He closed by saying “the wound is too fresh for a repeat performance. There is a lot more equity in deals now“. Experiences like this only add to the level of expertise within our development sector today, it is a welcome trend to hear people speaking openly and honestly about how they handled the crash and set their course for recovery.
- For investors involved in the retail sector, there is an interesting piece on page 14 and 15 of the SBP about the pressure the retailers are under and the role they play within the community.
- While just not necessarily property-related, it is great to see Merrion Vaults go from strength to strength, eyeing up Spain, Cyprus and Poland in a €9 million expansion deal. Well done to the team there.
- Samantha McCaughren, writing in the Sunday Independent has an article about how Homebuilder Cairn Homes chief, Michael Stanley and Chairman John Reynolds, were “quizzed on the speed of its completions by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe at a meeting late last year“. In particular, questions were raised about 24 sites owned by the company but not currently being developed. Apparently they were also discussions about the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund, however, that doesn’t appear to be any report of comments made about that.
- Writing in The Sunday Times today, Gavin Daly reports that Nama “expects to take in €385 million cash from residential property developments it funded in 2017“. This is positive, given that the estimated value of the land if it had been sold, rather than developed in conjunction with Norma, would have been somewhere between €200 million – €240 million.
- In the same paper, Niall Brady writes that ‘Cash buyers blamed for surge in prices of unmortgaged homes: Half of sales do not involve loans, says Central Bank chief“. Apparently up to 55% of transactions in the first half of last year were to cash buyers.
- There is an excellent article In the property supplement in The Sunday Times today for landlords on how to comply with current regulations for rental properties. This area has always been a minefield for investors, however, in recent years it is becoming more onerous and burdensome, and the implications for non-compliance have become more costly. The thrust of the article Is to make Irish landlords aware of the importance of men tenants standards, of understanding what the new regulations are and the consequences of not complying i.e. prosecution. The new regulations tighten up on several areas of safety including regulations on window safety features, access to carbon monoxide detectors and alarms, fire detection systems, proper ventilation and pest control. Non-compliance is simply not worth the risk, if you are a landlord, you need to be aware of the most recent regulations that came in last July – ignorance of the law is no excuse, which I found out the hard way when driving through Carlow years ago!
- The Sunday Independent has an advertising feature in association with KBC called ‘Your Home’. There are lots of helpful hints and tips in there for first time buyers including a mortgage guide and tips for saving for your deposit, not to mention plenty of interiors and design tips.
- On page 16 of the Sunday Independent today, there is continuing commentary on Project Ireland 2040 and Waterford gets a special mention today. Leading estate agent Maria Clifford of Liberty Blue Estate Agents in Waterford discusses the proposed bridge near Clock Tower on the south side of the city, describing it as a gateway to a tract of land on the other side that is ripe for development. It is wonderful to see Waterford being recognised in terms of its vast potential and this has been supported by its vibrant business community.
- The CIF Digital Construction Summit 2018 takes place in Croke Park on March 7. The theme of the day is ‘Can Ireland Lead Construction 4.0?’. There is a feature about this on page 29 of the SBP today together with an interview with Topcon boss Ray O’Connor on his future vision for the industry.
- Also, CIF is launching a year-long campaign to increase the number of women working in the construction industry. The team there are asking people in the industry to be a role model and inspire women in the industry and girls considering their career options. Visit the page and share your story, https://lnkd.in/eF6dCK2
- It only took 2.3 million hours, 3,000 people and 2.5 years of construction! The new campus at #OneMicrosoftPlace is officially open – Inside Microsoft’s new Dublin home: an LED waterfall, a digital lake and a DreamSpace: https://www-irishtimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.irishtimes.com/business/work/inside-microsoft-s-new-dublin-home-an-led-waterfall-a-digital-lake-and-a-dreamspace-1.3401662?mode=amp
- In case you missed my synopsis of James Dearsley and Eddie Holmes’ guest Q&A at the Dublin proptech meet-up last week you can catch-up here (FYI, there is a stark warning for traditional estate agents…): http://prop-tech.ie/digital-transformation-property-industry-proptech-estate-agents-ireland/
- Great piece by Konrad Putzier for The Real Deal that explains how Jetty is solving the problem that security deposits represent for both renters and property managers. Read the article here: http://bit.ly/2EVHCon
- *FINAL WEEK TO BOOK: We are finalising numbers (and group rates) for any Irish innovators, investors and construction/property professionals heading over to Future: Proptech 2018 in London this May: https://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2017/8/futureproptech-2018–conference-on-industry-technology-confirmed. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for bookings.
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 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.
(Finally, as always, apologies for any typos, it’s difficult to get good help on a Sunday!)