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, for the second week in a row, the Sunday Independent newspaper is the one to pick up today for the most comprehensive housing market coverage. For those still tracking it, Dublin’s crane count stands at 79 as of the first week in February.
Earlier this week, two of the UK’s top proptech speakers James Dearsley and Eddie Holmes came to Dublin (thanks to Tom and the team at Property Basecamp) and spoke about the digitisation of the construction and property industries. There was quite a stark warning for property businesses that fail to keep pace with technology as it evolves to meet the changing demands of the next generation of buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants. They shared insights from international case studies and warned of the failure to collaborate.
“The traditional property market has a risk of being disrupted from outside of itself… This is the subtlety of warning that the industry will have over the next 5 to 10 year period, where if they don’t start looking inwards at their business models, they could have a risk from outside of the industry.”
I have written up the main points here and, genuinely, it is not something that can be ignored by traditional agencies. I would love to get some industry feedback on the points raised and to hear about experiences so far when trying to implement change: http://prop-tech.ie/digital-transformation-property-industry-proptech-estate-agents-ireland/
James Dearsley & Eddie Holmes
Trending Property Stories
The biggest trending stories this week are:
- Dozens of developers are fighting to keep their lands off the vacant sites list: The measure was set up to stop land hoarding and free up sites for housing: https://fora.ie/vacant-site-list-ireland-appeal-3828346-Feb2018/
- LIMERICK BECOMING MORE ATTRACTIVE FOR INWARD INVESTMENT AS CAPITAL RENTS RISE: https://www.businessworld.ie/news-from-ireland/Limerick-becoming-more-attractive-for-inward-investment-as-capital-rents-rise-570269.html
- More than €500m build-to-rent sales predicted for Dublin in 2018 : Residential investment market seen to rise to 20% of all investment sales in 2018: https://www-irishtimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.irishtimes.com/business/commercial-property/more-than-500m-build-to-rent-sales-predicted-for-dublin-in-2018-1.3380569?mode=amp
- One of the controversial stories on social media this week was about the local council bringing derelict properties back to life: Louth Co. Co. ramps up use of compulsory purchase order powers #CPO: https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/homes-and-property/the-local-council-bringing-derelict-properties-back-to-life-1.3382388?mode=amp
- David McWilliams: Dublin Port is a waste of space. Move it: https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/david-mcwilliams-dublin-port-is-a-waste-of-space-move-it-1.3385412
- Property owner jailed for 10 days for refusing to comply with court orders; Liam Mulvaney had been ordered not to interfere with receivership of 17 Dublin properties: https://www-irishtimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.irishtimes.com/business/commercial-property/property-owner-jailed-for-10-days-for-refusing-to-comply-with-court-orders-1.3386877?mode=amp
Other property news
‘First slow down in house prices’
The Sunday Independent leads with front page analysis of its nationwide house price survey. The results revealed a significant slowdown in many markets including Dublin 4 where “an affordable threshold seems to have been reached in the second half of last year“.
It is interesting the price inflation has fallen to around 1% in parts of North and South Dublin, where supply is apparently meeting buyer demand. Outside of Dublin, and in slower parts of the city, growth is still running into double digits. The article by Fran Power and Mark O’Regan includes a quote on house price increases by AIB chief economist Oliver Mangan as follows:
“It will certainly slow, and slow considerably.“
There is a map on pages 6/7 of the property supplement, giving a breakdown of average property prices for two-bedroom apartments, three-bedroom semi-detached houses and four-bedroom semi-detached houses in each county, which will be helpful for potential buyers and those thinking of selling in 2018. Dublin 4 continues to be the most expensive area in the country, while Longford followed by Cavan is the least expensive area nationwide.
- A second report, this time by Standard and Poor’s, found that property prices in Ireland will certainly fall if Britain leaves the European Union without a trade deal due to our tight trade links with Britain.
- The Sunday Times leads with a report on how ‘Cork-Limerick motorway will hurt the regions’. This is an article by Valerie Flynn and Stephen O’Brien, quoting Edgar Morgenroth, author of the ESRI research that fed into the National Planning Framework (NPF). He maintains that “Cork city centre has lost population, Limerick isn’t really going anywhere. If you want growth in these places the investment has to go into them and not between them. This road between Limerick and Cork is exactly the wrong thing, unless you have no exits. Otherwise it will just facilitates sprawl – and a sprawled out population does not add to your scale and will actually undermine any objectives that are there.”
- In the same paper, Valerie Flynn has an emotive piece on page 22 entitled ‘Rural Ireland RIP’, in which she asks the question “Boarded up and empty shops illustrate how tough life can be outside the big cities. Will a new national planning strategy do anything to read dress the balance?”
- Niamh Horan has an interview with Richie Boucher, former Bank of Ireland boss, who maintains that home ownership is not as big a deal to millennials as it was for their parents.
- On page 6 of the business section in the Sunday Independent today, Fearghal O’Connor interviews Hilti Ireland’s general manager Marci Bonham. It is great to get an insight into the global tool and construction equipment maker and to see their plans in Ireland over the coming years. Also, it is indicative of a trend recognising female leaders across the planning, construction and property industries in Ireland.
- The Sunday Business Post has a similar style interview with Paddy Kelly of Tegral Building Products On page 26 of the business section.
- Colin Coyle, in the Sunday Times today writes about how our housing minister Eoghan Murphy met with property developer Michael O’Flynn before Christmas and asked him to prepare a research paper on the housing shortage. The thrust of the article is that O’Flynn is suing Nama over allegations that it leaked confidential business information to rivals; however, to my mind this is exactly the type of story that we need to be seeing. We need to know that our housing minister is speaking to – and more importantly listening to – industry leaders at the coalface of the market. This is undoubtedly the best way for the State to plan and provide for the next generation of housing.
- For would-be residential investors sitting on the fence, Eithne Dunne, has a feature in the Money section of The Sunday Times today headed “Elementary returns for the buy-to-let sector: Low savings rates, a revitalised housing market and lack of properties to rent out the perfect mix for prospective landlords“. If you were thinking that 2018 is the year to start or perhaps return to residential investing in Ireland, this feature is worth a read.
- In the SBP Property section today Paul Merriman, financial planner, has an insightful article discussing the sustainability, or lack thereof, of current house prices and rent prices in Ireland. The focus of the article is on mortgage prices rather than property prices, which is an important tack to consider. With this in mind, he poses the question that perhaps now might be the right time to consider allowing German public bank Sparkasse to operate here.
It is interesting to see Corporate Social Responsibility back on the agenda this month. The team at Property District have a special focus on industry-specific CSR with impact, as a way for construction and property businesses to do well while doing good; further details here: https://propertydistrict.ie/property-services/corporate-social-responsibility/
- Here are some reflections from Davos 2018 by McKinsey, which touch on the social good element: https://www.mckinsey.com/about-us/new-at-mckinsey-blog/reflections-from-davos-2018?cid=other-eml-nsl-mbl-mck-oth-1802&hlkid=57ce83087ce644fba040cd13fa5f332e&hctky=10125457&hdpid=cf69bc13-2f25-43e6-8c6d-793294bbe44e
- Also, BlackRock’s Billion-dollar Message: Contribute to Society, or Risk Losing Our Support: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/15/business/dealbook/blackrock-laurence-fink-letter.html
- I came across two great examples of this in practice earlier this week; firstly, Dublin homebuilders Victoria Homes reconstructed the footpath known locally as the Mass path, which connects the church in Glenageary with the village. Apparently the Mass path had fallen into such a poor state that parishioners with walking difficulties were unable to access the church by themselves in recent years. This is the kind of volunteerism and community gifting that often goes unrecognised, however, it is important to highlight the role that all businesses must play within their communities so well done to all involved.
- Secondly, Stewart Construction sponsored Engineering in a Box with The Good Shepherd National School, promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) for the next generation of Irish planners, designers and builders. At a time when the industry is facing a severe shortage of skilled labour, this is exactly the type of initiative that will make an impact where it is needed. More of this please! http://www.steam-ed.ie/
- I thought that this was an interesting piece, particularly as Dublin is tethering on the edge of finally becoming a high-rise city – Warsaw Spire: The Long Road to Poland’s Tallest Office Building (pictured above): https://urbanland.uli.org/economy-markets-trends/warsaw-spire-long-road-polands-tallest-office-building/
- According to CIS, “there are currently there are up to 11,000 student accommodation bed-spaces in the pipeline around the Republic that have yet to go on-site. This represents a construction value of €740m with the private sector accounting for 60% of these developments”.
- “While some big issues remain for Ireland’s construction industry, from Brexit and its potential impact on new construction project demand to the availability of resources and tender inflation, the future looks positive.” says John O’Regan , Head of Buildings + Placeso, AECOM Ireland. Read John’s overview and download the full Aecom Ireland Annual Review 2018 here: https://lnkd.in/diWPfRW
- In case you didn’t see it last week, Cork-based accountancy firm McAvoy & Associates have published a useful survival guide for sub-contractors dealing with issues of payment delays and defaults: http://www.mcavoy.ie/a-survival-guide-sub-contractors/
Obviously my Sunday Read above is the big Irish proptech story of the week, but here is one from Switzerland that caught my eye:
- Researchers from Switzerland’s ETH Zurichuniversity will use robots and 3D printersto design and build a pioneering three-storey house at a local research and innovation campus: https://www-dezeen-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.dezeen.com/2017/06/29/eth-zurich-research-digital-technologies-3d-printed-dfab-house-robots-switzerland/amp/
- 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.
- Best of luck to Perfectproperty.ie, which has now launched itself to compete with Daft.ie and Myhome.ie as the next property portal in Ireland, focusing initially on the Dublin market. Let the market speak and may the best portal win!
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, today’s round-up is longer than usual, however, if you have the time, you might enjoy this: Living in a 17th Century Manor on Staten Island: “Like a number of historic city properties managed by the trust, it has a resident caretaker who lives rent-free on the property, in exchange for providing museum tours and programming, performing maintenance duties and keeping the property secure at all times, among other responsibilities.”: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/05/realestate/17th-century-manor-staten-island-caretaker.html
(Finally, as always, apologies for any typos, it’s difficult to get good help on a Sunday!)