If you only have time for one newspaper today, it is a toss-up between the Sunday Independent and The Sunday Business Post. I recommend the Independent for residential tenants and for construction industry/development news, and the SBP for potential property buyers as it has a special advertising feature this week.
Also, for those of you who might have a bit of extra time on your hands today, here’s an interesting read for the weekend: THE RISE AND FALL OF IRELAND’S BIG HOUSES
Róisín Power follows an old map of Ireland’s ancient estates – and uncovers a forgotten history:
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.
State Mortgage Scheme
One of the stories featured across most of the broadsheets today relates to the introduction of the Government’s low interest, new home, loan scheme, which will be available from next week, and is aimed at first-time buyers who earn no more than €50,000 (or a couple earning no more than €75,000).
In his column, Ronan Lyons shares his concerns about the scheme; namely that “making credit more readily available is the single most effective way of boosting demand, not supply”. And, of course, that’s very relevant concern.
The most interesting article on the State mortgage scheme comes from Professor Michelle Norris, chair of the Housing Finance Agency, writing in The SBP business section. She writes that “critics have misrepresented the new Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan initiative”, and that it offers genuine help to the squeezed middle.
Other property news
- A private company managing homeless accommodation in Dublin made nearly €3 million profit in 2016: http://www.thejournal.ie/homeless-money-3804327-Jan2018/ [I’m not going to keep beating the drum week after week about how the State has allowed homelessness evolve into a new ‘sector’ of the housing market, employing close to 1,000 people and putting the focus on ‘managing’ rather than ‘solving’ the crisis].
- Planners prove to be fly in the fast-track housing ointment: An Bord Pleanála’s decision to block south Dublin scheme likely to cause consternation: https://www-irishtimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.irishtimes.com/business/construction/planners-prove-to-be-fly-in-the-fast-track-housing-ointment-1.3359131?mode=amp
- The front page of the Sunday Independent today carries a story about housing minister Eoghan Murphy’s “scathing attack on bailed out bank AIB for suggesting the Government should reduce VAT for builders to kick-start the property market”. [Personally, I am relieved to be able to hop off the fence in relation to this particular housing minister, who has shown himself to be just of touch, not just with the current generation of property buyers and tenants, but also with the industry at large. On the positive side, he might be single-handedly responsible for pushing the agenda for a non-political housing body.]
- Most of the broadsheets today have articles or opinion pieces on the continuing fallout of the multibillion-euro collapse of Carillion. As discussed in last week’s round-up, The building and property maintenance giant was initially reported to have £1.6 billion in debt, which escalated within days to a figure closer to £8 billion including pension deficits. For people following this continuing story, Richard Curran in the Sunday Independent business section has an interesting perspective on this in relation to public private partnerships (PPPs).
- The Sunday Times today Kerry is a piece headed ‘Murphy’s meddling in Kildare housing under review’. This article by Mark Tighe reports that the High Court is to review a decision by the housing minister last year to de-zone land that had been earmarked for 270 homes.
- Philip Connolly reports that a consortium of German and Irish investors seeking to develop student housing on a site in Cabra, Dublin 7, which is better known as the site where Eamonn Dunne was shot in 2010.
- Gavin McLoughlin reports in the Sunday Independent today that Marlet Property is planning a 220-bed hotel and 300-bed aparthotel, together with retail units, on the site they acquired at Abbey Street, close to Jervis Shopping Centre in Dublin 1.
- There is an excellent piece by Louise McBride on page 8 of the business section in the Sunday Independent today for tenants, helping them to understand their rights in relation to rent increases as landlords continue to find ways to navigate around the Rent Pressure Zones.
- In his column in The Sunday Times today, Lorcan Sirr writes an uncharacteristically positive piece on the recent housing policy changes. He praises recent announcements by the Government in relation to the building of affordable houses on state land. He’s also in favour of the floated ban on evictions when landlords are ready to sell [ I hold a polar opinion on this!]. Most importantly, the columnist described our housing minister’s admission that he could not calculate for sure how many houses were built last year as “politically courageous”. The industry has been debating the credibility of housing data over the past number of years, however, in recent weeks this debate appeared up on Twitter with the hashtag #RealNumbers. I love a good hashtag as much as the next person but if you want to dig a little deeper into this, you can listen back to a Andrea Gilligan’s show on Newstalk FM last Sunday, where I joined Derek Byrne of Victoria Homes, Simon Brooke of Cluid and economist John Fitzgerald to discuss housing data issues and alternative solutions to Ireland’s housing crisis. You can listen back here:
- Writing in The Sunday Business Post today, Jack Horgan-Jones has a contentious headline ‘ State’s largest landlord: lower standards and we will deliver new homes’. The story relates to a letter sent to The Minister for Housing by Ires Reit, setting out how are relaxation of the rules and apartment sighted and standards could save up to €70,000 per apartment and delivery costs.
- Writing in the Sunday Independent today, commercial property editor Ronald Quinlan has an interesting article on Paddy McKillen Jr. and his London-based property lending business GreenOak, which will apparently lend €100 million into the Irish market over the next 12 months.
- The Sunday Business Post has a good construction roundup on page 15 of the property supplement with information provided by Construction Information Services (CIS), highlights include:
– Sammon Group has been appointed main contractor for the rapid-build of 42 homes at Avondale, Mulhuddart in Dublin 15.
– Walls Construction has been appointed main contractor for two student accommodation schemes on Dominick Street Upper in Dublin 7, developing 327 beds.
– O’ Flynn Construction is due to start work shortly on a €32 million residential development of 82 homes at Chapel Road, Kilsealy Lane, Malahide in North Dublin.
– Work is now underway on the final element of Hibernia Reit’s Sobo district scheme ( 1WML and 1SJRQ) through John Paul Construction.
- “The lessons of the last few weeks are ones that we can’t afford to ignore.” Mark Castle – Chair of BuildUK and Mace’s Deputy COO for Construction – has written about construction sector profit margins for Building Magazine. Read it here: http://ubm.io/2BkRQJ5
- The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) has published its year-end review for 2017. Investment returns have added €655m to the fund’s value since inception in December 2014 (to €8.7bn, up from €7.2bn). 2017 preliminary figures indicate an investment return of 4.0% on the ISIF portfolio, made up of 4.1% on the global portfolio and 3.4% on the Irish portfolio. ISIF is attracting €1.7m in private sector co-investment for every €1m invested by ISIF (as compared with original target of €1m co-investment for every €1m invested by ISIF).
- The next proptech meet-up is taking place in Devitts on Camden Street, Dublin 8 on Monday 5th February at 7pm – link for booking here: PROPTECH MEET-UP
- Edinburgh-based #proptech firm Pixel Image has developed the housing industry’s first ‘intuitive image-based online specification system’ that can display thousands of possible finish combinations throughout a home before construction begins: http://futurescot.com/pixel-housing-springfield/
- A ‘secret’ proposal called Project UHA was put to a hand-picked group of agents on Friday with speculation suggesting it centres on a lead-generating initiative aimed at helping traditional agents. There may also be a possible online operation to syphon off business currently going to Purplebricks and other onliners: https://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2018/1/mystery-surrounds-proptech-project-uha–but-some-agents-clearly-like-it—
- We have special 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 rates.
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!)