Irish property market news and insights – by the industry, for the industry
In recent weeks I have reached out to a few business leaders whose firms have been on my radar for a while. This is something of an annual ritual for me as I am aware of the bubbles in which we operate – despite our best intentions to be more outward-looking! It was interesting to discover every single one of these firms is involved in work that is more expansive, more complex and, frankly, more exciting than the websites would suggest. They are doing more – and are therefore capable of doing more – than their established clients and the wider sector even knows about.
In much the same way as I get frustrated to read articles or opinion pieces lamenting the lack of innovation across Irish construction and property businesses (because I see genuinely world-class leadership here), business owners who are actively pioneering change right now are equally frustrated. With so much criticism levelled against the industry for not delivering vital housing and infrastructure fast enough or cheap enough, many of the truly innovative and process-changing solutions that are being developed, trialled or rolled out across the industry are going under the radar. To be clear, I am not calling for any cheerleading, but as an industry we need to get better at acknowledging internal wins and successes, and then sharing key learnings. At the moment, the Property District team is busy writing up case studies for industry clients (with the intention of sharing these between Christmas and New Year) and it reminded me to tell you that this is the ideal time of the year to reflect on what went right and what went wrong in 2019. 2020 is a new year (and a new decade!), prepare well.
Before we get stuck into the general property news of the week, below are a few local and international stories that might be of particular interest:
- Rent freeze Bill law by Christmas with Opposition backing – SF https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/oireachtas/rent-freeze-bill-law-by-christmas-with-opposition-backing-sf-1.4111474?mode=amp
- Public consultation has been launched on the Employment Permits (Consolidation and Amendment) Bill | PLACEengage https://placeengage.com/public-consultation-has-been-launched-on-the-employment-permits-consolidation-and-amendment-bill/
- ‘Serious gender imbalance’ remains at top of Irish business, report finds https://www.irishtimes.com/business/work/serious-gender-imbalance-remains-at-top-of-irish-business-report-finds-1.4111279?mode=amp
- Irish banking system downgraded from ‘positive’ to ‘stable’ by Moody’s – Independent.ie https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/irish-banking-system-downgraded-from-positive-to-stable-by-moodys-38770309.html
- Council clamps down on derelict homes to free up housing https://www.kildarenow.com/news/home/500911/council-clamps-down-on-derelict-homes-to-free-up-housing.html (image below)
- VacantHomes.ie Sees 10% Surge in Vacant Homes Registered after Christmas Appeal to Public – Construction Network Ireland – http://www.constructionnetworkireland.com/vacanthomes-ie-sees-10-surge-vacant-homes-registered-christmas-appeal-public/
- Construction industry reacts to Tory victory – live https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/government/construction-industry-reacts-to-tory-victory-live-updates-13-12-2019/
If you missed last week’s round-up, you can catch up here: https://propertydistrict.ie/category/sunday-property-review/
As always, you might let me know if I have missed out on any relevant property news by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
(Apologies in advance for any typos, it’s difficult to get good help on a Sunday. Also, I use voice to text dictation so just sound out anything that really doesn’t make sense in a strong rural accent and that should help!)
Property Matters: Ireland’s First Weekly Property Radio Show (& Podcast!):
Ireland’s first weekly property radio show, Property Matters, launched In January 2019 on Dublin South FM 93.9 and is now available internationally via iTunes and Spotify podcast (www.iPropertyRadio.com). Seasoned political broadcaster, Bryan Fox, and I (Carol Tallon) team up to deliver 60 minutes of industry chat with guests from the areas of planning, construction, property and proptech. Produced by Katie Tallon of Hear Me Roar Media.
In studio with us this week was William Power, Director of C+W O’Brien Architects and Diarmuid Healy, Technical Director at Curtins to discuss modular construction projects (50% of all current projects at Curtins, Dublin) and the establishment of Ireland’s Offsite + Modular Institute in 2020.
*Listen back to all #PropertyMatters episodes here: https://anchor.fm/ipropertyradio
Email the Property Matters team at hello@iPropertyRadio.com
PUBLIC CONSULTATION AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
- ‘Legal challenges taken against planning decisions reach a new high this year: Infrastructure and housing being delayed by cases, says government’. This is a huge problem and one that the PLACEengage.com team has been talking directly to property developers about – developers, please take 2 minutes to answer these 5 questions: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KRTSYGY
- Developers could break ground on controversial housing project in 2020:
“The next step is for the plans to go to An Bord Pleanala but Dublin City Council’s housing chief Brendan Kenny has said objections to the development could have set the project back a decade.
Last month, councillors gave the go ahead for the deal that will see more than 800 homes built on the site close to the Phoenix Park in Dublin 7.
During the vote, protesters stormed the council chamber, with some shouting “shame on you” at councillors who voted in favour.”
- Cobh residents criticise planning application for 230 homes https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/cobh-residents-criticise-planning-application-for-230-homes-970301.html
- New Liffey bridge in Dublin to cost more than €20m https://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/new-liffey-bridge-in-dublin-to-cost-more-than-20m-1.4111228?mode=amp (image above)
- Have your say on Bus Connects | PLACEengage
- Locals not happy as 1,000 new homes get go-ahead in Dublin – Independent.ie https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/locals-not-happy-as-1000-new-homes-get-goahead-in-dublin-38773659.html
- Singer Mary Coughlan threatens to stage a sit-in over Wicklow motorway
- Gorey wins at National Enterprise Town Awards 2019 – via Kinsella Estates https://kinsellaestates.ie/gorey-wins-at-national-enterprise-town-awards-2019/
- 5 Dublin bridges with interesting stories behind them (aside from the obvious) https://www.thejournal.ie/interesting-dublin-bridges-4572393-Apr2019/?amp=1
- Public Consultation On Smoky Fuel Ban Planned: “The rollout of the smoky fuel public consultation is coming at a critical time and Ireland must show global leadership.”
via Sonitus Systems http://www.sonitussystems.com/news/public-consultation-on-smoky-fuel-ban
- Richmond Homes is seeking to add more than 50 apartments to a development in Donnybrook that is already strongly opposed by residents – the Dublin housebuilder, which is backed by the investment group Avestus Capital Partners, won permission this year from Dublin city council to build 94 apartments on a corner site at Eglinton Road, near Donnybrook village, despite more than 70 objections to the seven-storey project. Some residents appealed against the decision to An Bord Pleanala, but it upheld the approval.
*PLACEengage: The future of speedy, successful placemaking for property developers is here – Property developers and project owners ready Public Consultation are encouraged to contact the PLACEengage team for full details*
CONSTRUCTION & DEVELOPMENT NEWS
- The State of Construction:
“Queues of prospective buyers became something of a norm in recent years as people desperately fought to get on the property ladder and escape the rental sector, but now those queues are dwindling…”
- Home prices ‘as high as they can go’ so cost of building must be driven down, warns ESRI https://amp-independent-ie.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/amp.independent.ie/irish-news/home-prices-as-high-as-they-can-go-so-cost-of-building-must-be-driven-down-warns-esri-38777187.html
- Revised Public Spending Code to avoid cost overruns:
‘The Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform has today launched a revised Public Spending Code, which aims to ensure a tighter hold is kept on costs of large public capital projects.’
- DAA ‘must challenge’ Irish firms for more competitive tenders –
THE DAA needs to have a “major focus” on challenging the local Irish market to deliver more competitive tenders for fit-out projects at Dublin Airport, according to a report.
The study, by London economic consultancy Steer for the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR), said Dublin Airport had pointed out that the local construction market was overheating.
The consultancy said that the DAA should give “serious consideration” to looking further afield for suppliers to deliver fit-out works at the airport.
- 34,000 new homes needed every year for next decade https://www-rte-ie.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.rte.ie/amp/1098192/
- House building activity sees first slowdown since 2013 https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2019/1209/1097912-ulster-bank-construction-pmi/
- Construction industry the only ones to learn lesson from last crash https://www.irishtimes.com/business/construction/construction-industry-the-only-ones-to-learn-lesson-from-last-crash-1.4114389?mode=amp
- Former Dublin City Council worker arrested over extortion allegations:
“Gardaí have arrested a man for questioning about the extortion of money from construction companies working on public housing schemes in Dublin.
While those behind the crime are gangland criminals, the man arrested on Thursday formerly worked for Dublin City Council.
The two criminals who ran the extortion racket received more than €550,000 over two years.”
- Voluntary housing association Circle to build 250 homes https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/voluntary-housing-association-circle-to-build-250-homes-1.4113064?mode=amp
- UK-led Torc starts work on 465 social housing units in PPP deal – Independent.ie https://m.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/property-mortgages/ukled-torc-starts-work-on-465-social-housing-units-in-ppp-deal-38769512.html
- Ronan gets go-ahead for apartments in docklands https://www.irishtimes.com/business/commercial-property/ronan-gets-go-ahead-for-apartments-in-docklands-1.4113721?mode=amp
- According to the Sunday Independent today, Cosgrave Developments has applied for planning permission for 331 apartments in Santry.
- Urbeo commits €400m to build-to-rent deals in first year https://www-irishtimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.irishtimes.com/business/commercial-property/urbeo-commits-400m-to-build-to-rent-deals-in-first-year-1.4109820?mode=amp
- In The Sunday Times today, Denis O’Brien has been given the go-ahead to add four floors to an office block he owns in the so-called Silicon Docks area in Dublin, writes Gavin Daly.
Dublin city council last week approved plans by an O’Brien company to increase the size of the building at 1 Grand Canal Quay to 11 storeys. O’Brien developed the building in the late 1990s as the headquarters of his Esat Telecom and added a personal penthouse office to the property in recent years, at a cost of about €3.75m.
- Killian Woods reports in Business Post ‘New submission likely to delay development plans’ as Avestus looks to fast-track plans for extra units on D4 site | https://www.businesspost.ie/construction/avestus-looks-to-fast-track-plans-for-extra-units-on-d4-site-4196b100
- Tayto Park has hotel plans if ‘Coaster 2021’ is granted https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2019/1209/1098046-tayto-park-has-hotel-plans-if-coaster-2021-is-granted/
- Premier Inn secures Dublin docklands site for 108-bedroom hotel https://www.irishtimes.com/business/commercial-property/premier-inn-secures-dublin-docklands-site-for-108-bedroom-hotel-1.4112460?mode=amp
- Carmelite nun in breach of planning law over ‘compound’ https://www.rte.ie/news/munster/2019/1210/1098265-nuns-planning-cork/ (and some further news: Court nuns’ hermitage on market for €25,500 https://www.msn.com/en-ie/money/homes-property/court-nuns-hermitage-on-market-for-%E2%82%AC25500/ar-AAK8zXQ?li=BBr5HCU )
- Concerns raised over planning application which threatens ‘only preschool left in Blackpool’:
It’s understood that the planning notice for the 42 apartments was posted outside the building without prior notice to staff or parents, while the school was open last week.
The planning permission, submitted by Developers Compass Homes Ltd, would allow for the demolition of existing structures and the construction of 42 apartments comprising of 23 one-bedroom apartments, 18 two-bedroom apartments and one three-bedroom apartment within four blocks, which will range in height from two to four storeys.
- Approval for new housing development in Barna: “One condition is that the developers will have to pay a contribution of €60,000 to the County Council, while another states that a minimum of 20 per cent of the houses will be restricted to the use of Irish speakers due to Barna’s designation as a Gaeltacht region.”
- Disappointment over Kildare planning appeal decision in Newbridge https://www.leinsterleader.ie/news/news/501050/disappointment-of-kildare-planning-appeal-decision-in-newbridge.html
- Apartments plan for historic Naas shop building https://www.leinsterleader.ie/news/news/501798/apartments-set-for-historic-naas-shop-building.html
- Here’s where to go for the best jobs in the Irish construction industry | JOE.ie https://www.joe.ie/business/best-jobs-in-irish-construction-industry-688731
- Contractors lose millions through banking inertia https://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/contractors-lose-millions-through-banking-inertia
- Balfour Beatty extolled as Britain’s most admired contractor | Construction Enquirer https://www.constructionenquirer.com/2019/12/11/balfour-beatty-extolled-as-most-admired-british-contractor/
PROPTECH, MMC & CONSTRUCTION INNOVATION
- From smart design and planning right through to the smart property transaction, where does your Irish-led or Ireland-based proptech or MMC business sit? Pease take five minutes to add or update your details to our internationally-shared listing here: SIGN UP HERE: *PROPTECH INNOVATORS and STARTUPS *
- In the Business Post today, Killian Woods writes about the construction of what will be the tallest modular hotel in the world by an Irish-led construction group Skystone (founded by Jack Dooley in 2014) in partnership with Mac-Group. The 26-storey Marriott hotel in New York is expected to be completed in late 2020. Significantly, this joint-venture “is a couple of months away from having the full certification required to bring pre-fabricated modular units into Ireland“.
- Balfour Beatty has appointed Chris Johnson as its first ever chief technology officer as chief executive Leo Quinn said the sector is “a generation behind” manufacturing.
The firm said Mr Johnson’s role will aid its “growing focus on technology and innovation as a strategic imperative.”
- Thinking Ahead & Building Ahead: Sustainable Construction – Townmore
“Sustainable building needs to be at the forefront of construction as we move away from unsustainable means of creating the places people live, work, socialise and spend time. As an industry, now is the time to really consider our impact and innovate solutions.”
- L&G ditches CLT for modular apartments: Insurance giant and leading light in modular housing L&G will not use timber as a structural material for its planned modular apartment product, the company has said.
L&G, which has invested £90m in its modular housing business since founding it in 2015, launched with the idea of basing its homes on cross-laminated timber (CLT) technology, but is yet to deliver homes at the scale originally envisaged.
Housing Today understands that the business is now at prototype stage for a modular apartment product based on a hybrid of concrete and steel frame. These materials mean L&G would be able to build tall blocks without risking falling foul of the post-Grenfell ban on combustible products in external walls for tall buildings, which was introduced by the government last year: https://www.housingtoday.co.uk/news/landg-ditches-clt-for-modular-apartments/5103227.article
- Generative Design In Architecture And Construction | Editors Desk https://geoinformatics.com/generative-design-in-architecture-and-construction/
- The benefits of smart home tech for older generations: The home assistant devices are like a virtual assistant, which allows users to interact with their devices hands-free which works well for older people who may have reduced mobility. #PropTech Ireland https://prop-tech.ie/the-benefits-of-smart-home-tech-for-older-generations/
- Sidewalk Labs outlines policy on data privacy in the public realm https://www.egi.co.uk/news/sidewalk-labs-outlines-policy-on-data-privacy-in-the-public-realm/
- 10 Prop Tech companies to watch in 2020 https://www.showhouse.co.uk/news/10-prop-tech-companies-to-watch-in-2020/
- US firm and consortium to test scooter location system: An Irish technology consortium has partnered with a US e-scooter operator to test a system that enables devices to be located to within centimetres. Luna will also work with Dublin City University and Smart Dublin to pilot the location technology.
https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2019/1210/1098260-us-firm-and-consortium-to-test-scooter-location-system/ (image above)
- Digital bank N26 planning significant investment here https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2019/1211/1098591-digital-bank-n26-planning-significant-investment-here/
- Site Passport CEO Rob Fox on construction and blockchain
- Proptech has a social role to play | Insight | Property Week https://www.propertyweek.com/insight/proptech-has-a-social-role-to-play/5105624.article
OTHER PROPERTY NEWS
- In the Sunday Independent today: Airbnb hosts at new risk of Revenue’s special audit crackdown: The Revenue Commissioners are to launch a special audit crackdown of Airbnb hosts after analysing the results of a letter campaign to 12,000 providers of the short-term letting service.
Revenue has been intensifying its focus on Airbnb income for over a year but until now has stopped short of launching a full ‘compliance project’, which is an intense focus on a high-risk sector: https://amp.independent.ie/business/irish/airbnb-hosts-at-new-risk-of-revenue-audits-38786009.html
- Revealed: Ireland’s most expensive streets and their €2m plus homes – Temple Road in Dartry has overtaken Ailesbury Road as the country’s priciest address, according to research published today by property website Daft.ie.
The Daft.ie Wealth Report shows that while year-on-year prices have stabilised at 1pc growth, 11 streets nationwide saw two or more property transactions of €2m or higher for individual homes in the past year.
- Ronan Lyons: ‘State is foregoing billions in revenue with low property tax’ – The value of all residential real estate in Ireland, as of 2019 Q3, is estimated to be €519bn. This is an increase of 60pc from the low point reached in late 2013, when Ireland’s housing was worth just under €325bn. Most of the increase since late 2013 has been from average prices rising again. However, in recent quarters, the driver of added housing wealth has shifted.
In the last 12 months, Ireland’s housing wealth has increased by just 1pc, or €5.3bn. Almost all of this increase – just over €5.1bn – has come from newly built homes adding to the stock of housing. The much more modest increase in the average value of all homes – €1.1bn – is almost entirely offset by losses due to depreciation and obsolescence (€0.9bn).
- Mortgage-to-rent firm raises €75m to buy distressed loans: Mortgage-to-rent company Home for Life has raised €75m and plans to complete 1,500 deals with banks and so-called vulture funds next year to keep indebted householders in their homes.
The funding, secured from London asset manager LCM Partners, will allow Home for Life to raise up to €160m more through an existing deal with AIB.
The new funding will be used to facilitate mortgage-to-rent deals with banks and funds for homeowners facing potential repossession due to serious arrears difficulties. Under such deals, an approved housing body can purchase the home and set up a long-term social housing style lease with a local authority, to clear the debt and allow families to remain in their property.
- Power delivery issues ‘hit returns’ on data centres: Equinix, a multinational data centre operator, has said challenges in the delivery of power to sites in Dublin are making it difficult for operators to secure an appropriate return.
- McEvaddy group offers to pay for €50m airport link: Dubai investment fund TriCap and the McEvaddy brothers expect to apply for planning permission in early 2020 for the phased development of a terminal that could ultimately handle up to 30 million passengers, according to sources.
The €1.8bn plan puts Ulick McEvaddy – who owns 130 acres adjoining the western side of the airport campus – on a collision course with DAA, which is planning its own expansion.
- Statkraft subsidiary seeks planning for €60m wind farm: Cloncant Renewable Energy, a wind farm developer which is controlled by Norwegian state-owned company Statkraft, is set to apply for planning permission for a nine-turbine, 50-megawatt site in Co Offaly.
The Norwegian-backed company is seeking 10-year planning permission for the Cushaling Wind Farm with a 30-year operational life.
- In The Sunday Times today, Nama relies on internal assets to take over from chairman Frank Daly: The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) will this week appoint an internal board candidate as a successor to Frank Daly, who will step down as chairman at the end of the year.
The government chose not to advertise the position, indicating that the new chairman of the country’s bad bank would come from the existing board. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/ireland/nama-relies-on-internal-assets-to-take-over-from-chairman-frank-daly-k35ck3kfj
- Iput picks up No 3 Dublin Landings office for €115m: Iput acquired No 3 Dublin Landings in an off-market deal with its developers, Irish property group Ballymore and Singapore-based Oxley Holdings. The building is due to be completed in the coming weeks and will have over 11,000 sq m of office space, enough to accommodate more than 1,000 workers.
- In the property supplement of The Sunday Times today, editor Linda Daly points out that “for some property market players there will be plenty to toast” as she goes through the winners and losers of Irish housing in 2019. Institutional investors came out on top, whereas renters where the clear losers. Small scale landlords and many developers had a difficult time, as did the government, however, first-time buyers and homeowners fared relatively well.
- In the Business Post today, Ian Guider writes that ‘Property industry has not learned from history: Rental freeze proposals aside, the wider issue of negativity towards property developers is driving off and rapid policy change’. He goes on to say that “the image of greedy global funds it’s hard to change. Irish Institutional Property, the lobbying organisation set up by a number of new home builders and funds like Ires, is probably five years too late to counter the narrative”. Frankly, this type of ill-informed commentary perpetuates the stereotypical, unhelpful industry narrative that takes the place of much-needed policy discussion. In contrast to this, on page 16 of the same newspaper Killian Woods has an excellent feature on the pros and cons of rent controls, pointing out that such measures “could make things worse“.
- Goodman’s son in talks to sell homes to approved housing body Tuath: Laurence Goodman’s firm Urban Life bought 65 houses plus offices, retail buildings and parking spaces, in 2018 | Business Post https://www.businesspost.ie/construction/goodmans-son-in-talks-to-sell-homes-to-approved-housing-body-032d69fb
- Property prices increase by less than 1pc – Independent.ie https://m.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/property-prices-increase-by-less-than-1pc-38778022.html
- Property prices rise at lowest level since economic recovery https://www.irishtimes.com/business/construction/property-prices-rise-at-lowest-level-since-economic-recovery-1.4113172?mode=amp
- The cheapest county in Ireland to buy a house- latest figures https://www.breakingnews.ie/business/the-cheapest-county-in-ireland-to-buy-a-house-latest-figures-970030.html
- Only 35% of social housing targets met by September https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/only-35-of-social-housing-targets-met-by-september-969976.html
- Irish Residential Market Review https://propertydistrict.ie/bisnow-irish-residential-review/
- There are now under 1,500 residential ‘property millionaires’ in Ireland https://www.thejournal.ie/wealth-report-daft-4933562-Dec2019/
- Urbeo now has portfolio of 1,300 apartments for rent https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2019/1210/1098136-urbeo-residential-portfolio/
- More than 1,000 homes approved for south Dublin https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/more-than-1-000-homes-approved-for-south-dublin-1.4110916?mode=amp
- Vultures hit owners with interest rate hike ‘to test how they react’ – Independent.ie https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/property-mortgages/vultures-hit-owners-with-interest-rate-hike-to-test-how-they-react-38777192.html
- IPUT strikes €115m deal at Dublin Landings (no pre-let) https://reactnews.com/article/iput-strikes-e115m-deal-at-dublin-landings/
- Waterford city centre building on the market for €5 million https://www.waterfordlive.ie/news/property/501538/waterford-city-centre-building-on-the-market-for-5-million.html