Sunday Property Round-Up, February 9th 2020


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Irish property market news and insights – for the industry, by the industry  


It is a sad start to the Sunday broadsheets as news of Keelin Shanley’s death yesterday is marked by each newspaper.  On a personal note, Keelin was a genuinely lovely, intelligent and talented person and a welcoming broadcaster to less experienced TV contributors (for which I was very grateful). 


The rest of the front pages are dominated by election coverage, which I will not even comment on… except to say that a three-way tie between SF, FF and FG (22% each according to exit polls) is pretty unexpected.



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: 


































If you missed last week’s round-up, you can catch up here:




As always, you might let me know if I have missed out on any relevant property news by emailing



(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!)





General Election 2020






  • What to expect on health and housing issues from next government in power by Dan O’Brien, writing in the Sunday Independent:  “The next government will have an easier time of it on this issue than the current administration. That is because the worst of the housing problem is now clearly over.

    The number of people in emergency accommodation surged to 10,000 in the years up to mid-2018. Things have since stabilised. The most recent homeless figures for the end of last year show that the number of people were being put up in hotels and B&Bs fell below the 10,000 threshold. It should continue to fall.

    The other major problem regarding housing is for the households who rent from private landlords. Rents soared once the economy turned around in 2013. But over the past year and more things have changed. All measures of rent inflation are showing an easing of increases. Although rents are high, they are no longer getting more unaffordable as pay growth has moved into line with rent growth. The situation as regards house prices is considerably better. Nationally, prices have stabilised, and they have done at a level one fifth below the peak of 2007. With pay rising, homes are gradually becoming more affordable…”





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 ( 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


*Listen back to all #PropertyMatters episodes here:




This week on ‘Property Matters’ …


Ronan Group Real Estate special: Dublin’s Skyline… Missed Ambition


Huge thanks to Gary Cooper, Development Director with Ronan Group Real Estate for sharing past project experiences, present planning frustrations and future ambitions for Dublin.


Listen back to the full interview here:




Email the Property Matters team at



















  • Meath Chronicle – Navan residential  development plan causing concern–development-plan-causing-concern/?fbclid







  • Council hasn’t found what it’s looking for in Bono’s Dalkey tramyard plan: Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown county council has told a company partly owned by U2 singer Bono and property magnate Paddy McKillen to scale down its plans for a development on the former tramyard site in Dalkey.

    Council planners have advised Clos Nua — one-third of which is owned by Bono and another third by McKillen — that a proposed three-storey pavilion and roof garden is contrary to the local development plan, given the site’s proximity to protected structures.


























  • Inside the renovated Dublin bedsits making investors a fortune: Bedroom, living room, kitchen. The studio room in Grove Park functions as all three. At 17 sq m, it is about the same size as a disabled car parking space. It costs almost €1,286 per month.

    “As you can see, a nice, compact studio,” said the estate agent who gave an undercover Times reporter a tour of the room.




































  • Aldborough House ‘needs anchor tenant’, say owners:  The once-magnificent Georgian mansion on Portland Row in Dublin 1 is second in size only to Leinster House and has been derelict for 20 years




*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*










  • ‘Use or lose’ rules for developers have yet to be implemented: No timeline set for new laws to force construction on empty and derelict sites



















  • Luke and Brian Comer’s hotel proposal for Kilmainham rejected:  Ladas Property Company put forward the proposal for a development at Kearns Place, near tourist attraction Kilmainham Gaol. The plan included the construction of a six-storey, over-basement hotel with 80 bedrooms, a restaurant and a rooftop cafe.

    The project was last week refused permission by Dublin council on the grounds that it would “seriously injure the amenities of property in the vicinity” and was in an area at risk of flooding. The decision can be appealed.



  • Johnny Ronan lodges third bid for towering Spencer Dock block: Spencer Place Development Company, which is owned by Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) and the US investment group Colony Capital, has lodged a new application to add extra floors to the project, which will house offices for software group Salesforce.

    Two previous applications were rejected by Dublin city council last year, on the grounds the plans breached rules on the maximum height for buildings in the area.



  • Emmet O’Neill checks in plan for five-storey aparthotel in Dun Laoghaire:  A property company linked to the businessman Emmet O’Neill has lodged plans to build a five-storey aparthotel on the site of a former Dunnes Stores outlet in Dun Laoghaire in Dublin.

    Cumberland Developments, which is majority-owned by O’Neill’s investment vehicle Kouchin, aims to demolish the vacant two-storey building on Northumberland Avenue, a predominantly residential street. The proposed aparthotel would have 45 studios and one- and two-bed suites. It would include a cafe, lounge and a swimming pool on the fourth floor.







  • Plans For 50 New Apartments In Leixlip Published.



















  • Elgin in €400m Irish solar farm investment plan: The company, which has been in Ireland since 2015, has a pipeline of about 500 megawatts (MW) of projects that it hopes to deliver into the energy system by the mid-2020s.

    The 500MW of solar projects will provide enough clean electricity to power more than 140,000 homes, 220,000 electric vehicles annually and offset 275,000 tonnes of carbon per year.

    Ronan Kilduff, managing director of Elgin Energy in Ireland, said that it was important Ireland developed a mix of renewable power projects and did not just focus on wind.







  • Competition watchdog to investigate Kingspan acquisition: The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating Kingspan’s acquisition of materials supplier SIG’s Building Solutions division.

    Kingspan and SIG agreed the deal in October last year for £37.5m after SIG initiated the process to offload the business arm following a strategic review. However, completion of the deal was conditional on CMA clearance, which was expected during the first quarter of 2020. The watchdog has launched an investigation into the deal and is seeking comments from interested parties. A statement by the CMA said its probe would examine the potential for a “substantial lessening of competition” within the market.











  • 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 * 








  • Proptech gives developers and landlords a competitive edge:  “Whether it’s monitoring temperature in an office building or measuring footfall in a retail unit, technology now plays a big role in real estate” Hannah Dwyer, JLL Ireland


















  • Smartzone takes property tech to new levels for home security: Proptech gives you full control of where you live, with smart technology ‘waking up’ the house before you arrive home, detecting water leaks and cutting off the mains, and even monitoring the health of elderly people living alone



  • When LGS Innovation Spills Over: Some of the design team at Horizon Offsite, experts in the offsite construction of buildings using light gauge steel (LGS), recently turned their design talents to something a bit different… a car! (Image below)


















  • Dan White, writing in the Sunday Independent: Can Ireland step back from housing cliff edge? “…there is an affordability gap in the housing market – with large numbers of people unable to afford to pay the low-€300,000s that housebuilders in the Dublin area need to charge for starter homes if they are to make a profit. That gap will remain no matter how many new houses are built.

    Having been locked out of home ownership, this group, most of whom are working, have turned to the rental market instead.

    This has resulted in soaring rents, with many renters now paying more than they would in mortgage repayments – if only they could persuade a bank to lend them the money. A virtually unprecedented situation.

    Sirr’s solution is the creation of a State housing body modelled on Transport Infrastructure Ireland that would build 8,000-9,000 public houses a year.

    “The difference between the number of houses being sold and the number of houses we need is huge. The market is not going to solve this problem. The State has got to step in.”




























  • AIB plans to sell off thousands of family home mortgages: Project Oak is the first time AIB has sold a portfolio that directly involves primary dwelling homes mortgages














  • International student accommodation group purchases five Dublin properties:  Global Student Accommodation Group (GSA), which provides student housing in eight countries around the world, has acquired five purpose-build lodgings in Dublin.

    GSA purchased the buildings from its joint venture partner, Harrison Street, in a deal worth €400m.

    The properties are made up of 1,971-beds, all of which primarily serve students at Trinity College, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, TU Dublin Grangegorman, and UCD.

    The accommodation includes Ardcairn House, Kavanagh Court New Mill, The Tannery, and Broadstone Hall.



















  • Invesco advice led to investor exodus from property funds:  Wealth consultant Invesco has emerged as one of the advisers that told clients to switch out of Irish property, sparking an investor exodus for its parent Irish Life and other property fund managers.

    Invesco’s advice is seen as evidence of the operational independence that it promised clients after Irish Life took a strategic holding in the firm in 2018.

    Irish Life experienced a net outflow of almost €100m from its flagship €1bn Irish property fund over the past year, according to informed sources.








  • A minor blip or the canary in the commercial property coalmine? “Recent moves by three insurance companies to shore up their funds have worried some observers in the financial and property industries” Ian Guider, writing an excellent feature in the Business Post:

























  • UK First time buyers to get 30 per cent discount on new-build homes: First time buyers will be given a discount of 30 per cent on the price of some new-build homes under a scheme being announced by ministers on Friday.

    The First Homes scheme will slash the cost of the average eligible new-build home by £94,000, taking more than £18,000 off the cost of a 20 per cent deposit.

    The Government will force developers to foot the bill by making planning permission for new estates conditional on a certain proportion of houses being “affordable”.







  • Yew Grove buys Naas office buildings for €25.3m: Yew Grove Reit has completed the purchase of six office buildings in Naas, Co Kildare for €25.3m. The acquisition grows the total value of its property portfolio by more than a fifth.

    The Irish-listed firm said five of the Millennium Park buildings are occupied by a mix of foreign multinationals and domestic enterprises that pay approximately €1.6m in annual rent, while the sixth is vacant.

    Together the buildings offer 13,000 square metres (141,000 square feet) of office space and 773 parking spaces alongside a 2.5 hectare (six acre) greenfield site.

    Yew Grove said the acquisition expands its portfolio to 28 properties with a gross asset value of €140m and an annual rent roll totalling about €10.4m.

















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