Sunday Property Round-Up, May 27th 2018


Unsurprisingly, the broadsheets today are dominated by the results of Friday’s referendum.   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!)


Sunday Read – Vacant Site Levy


Almost 100 vacant sites listed in Dublin city ahead of June 1st deadline  – Local authorities must tell property owners if they will face levy by next Friday:


In a related story, Fearghal O’Connor writes the lead business story in the  Sunday Independent today: ‘Builders set for legal fight as farmers get vacant site repressive-fears quarter action will undermine measure designed to tackle housing crisis‘


This is quite an interesting evolving story; it appears that Farmers will be excluded or protected from the vacant site levy (3%, rising to 7% next year). As might be expected, the construction industry has responded to this move by demanding equal treatment for developers and builders unable to get bank financing In order to use the sites. The housing minister has push this back on the individual local authorities by saying that “it is up to each local authority to decide which lands go on its register. If farmland is in productive use, it should not be included”. The CIF  put forward the argument that any lands that are in any form of productive use should not be included on the register.  We will need to watch this to see how it plays out.


Trending Story – GDPR


The vast majority of those annoying GDPR emails you have undoubtedly gotten over the past month have been unnecessary and highlight how uneducated are about data use.  This Guardian article is probably the most accurate of the thousands circulating right now:


Comprehensive Guide to GDPR Compliance for Irish Real Estate Businesses  



Deficiencies in our planning system


SCSI president believes ‘rigid’ planning system is damaging the economy:


And on a related note, newly-elected SCSI president Des O’Broin  has a comment piece in the property supplement in The Sunday Times today further calling out deficiencies in our current planning system and describing it as “right for modernisation“, not too many people would argue with that.  He goes further to say that a revamp of the rules could actually help to ease the housing crisis. He rightly points out that the current system is “more geared to solving problems of our past-at the cost of our present and future“.  He attributes this to the piecemeal approach to planning reform that has happened over the past number of decades.  Beyond issues with the planning system, he goes on to say that “we also need to look at more offsite modular and volumetric construction, which is being used very effectively in the UK, especially in London”.   It is interesting to read this opinion piece today, following a heavy push towards offsite construction reported across last week’s broadsheets.

Property of the week


Waterford couple’s ‘flat-pack’ grand design home for €1.1m (pictured above)

German company engineered four-bedroom house and assembled it in just a few months

Other Property News





  • Third of tenants are evicted to sell property ly/2IP0hoZ














  • A few weeks ago here I mentioned that Patrick Collison (Co-founder of Stripe and one of Ireland’s youngest self-made billionaires)  had donated  $1 million to a housing advocacy organisation in California, well this week (per  Sunday Independent and The Sunday Times) it appears that the socially conscious tech  entrepreneur has lobbied Ireland’s housing minister on the government‘s approach to solving the housing crisis in Dublin. This is not the first time Patrick has spoken out about the likely consequences of this housing crisis continuing on  expanding their business in Dublin. Many Irish and international organisations have voiced the same concerns to little effect, maybe it’s time we listened?


  • In her Ergo column, Business editor Samantha McCaughren  reveals that Read Rock Developments (Keith Craddock)  is seeking planning for a seven-storey apartment block/42 units close to Smithfield, Dublin 7.


  • On page 5 of the Business section in the Sunday Independent today Dan White has an in-depth feature on Dublin‘s hotel market, which makes for interesting reading and is well worth picking up the paper today  if this is where your interests lie.


  • Also, for anyone with a keen interest in gardening (which is definitely not me today after foolishly attempting to paint block walls yesterday without first plastering them – 10 litres of paint per 10ft of wall!) the property supplement today has huge feature in the run-up to Bloom as does the SBP.


  • According to an article in the  Sunday Independent, Irish construction tech firm Zutec (mentioned here previously in the context of its Nasdaq IPO two months ago)  has posted strong sales and earnings growth in its first set of results (up 20%) since the IPO.  This is definitely a company-and the sector for that matter-to watch as this traditional industry is pushed to innovate.


  • Along a similar vein, senior equity analyst with Goodbody Brian Flavin  has a commentary article titled ‘Time for investors to take notice of changing tide in construction’.  He starts by referencing the notable pick-up in capital expenditure across the industry in the past quarter.  “Right now, the big technology firms are driving the spend as they build that I sent that headquarters, but we are also starting to see traditional companies ramp up spending on structures and manufacturing capacity…  Given the much slower pace of investment and housing, non-residential construction and public infrastructure relative to previous recoveries, it seems clear that the construction industry set to benefit significantly“.


  • I don’t recall writing about graveyards over the past decade and a half of writing about property in Ireland so this is a first for me:  Philip Connolly in The Sunday Times today reports that  Kilternan Cemetery Park  has raised €5 million  in debt funding from private investors to develop-which I take to mean landscaping and plot preparation- the cemetery, which is on track to show profits in excess of €840,000 this year.


  • The same Journalist also has an in-depth feature  on student accommodation in the capital on page 5 of the Business section entitled ‘Bricks and Mortarboards’.  If your focus is on student accommodation I definitely recommend picking up The Sunday Times today for this feature alone  as it gives a good overview of the current projects and breaks down the number of beds due to be delivered  in 2018.


  • In The Sunday Business Post today Jack Horgan-Jones  quotes Hibernia Reit chief Kevin Nowlan speaking about the viability of Reits  “My view would be that you need to be over €500 million. That probably means you need to have €300 million of stock and €200 million of cash. I think the challenge is scale. If you’re too small, people aren’t interested“.


  • Also in the SBP, Róisín Burke reports that developers Maurice and Andrew Gillick,  who purchased the former Chivers site from Liam Carroll, have been successful in getting it rezoned for residential. This paves the way for them to develop 250 new homes.





Proptech and Construction Innovation



  • 2018 Proptech Guide to Virtual Tours and VR in Real Estate via – Why are Virtual Tours and VR in #Proptech still so misunderstood in 2018? Like a lot of phrases in the “Proptech” industry, Virtual Reality has been a buzzword for some time now. Technologies like “Blockchain” and “Artificial Intelligence” have suffered a similar fate:




  • To keep up-to-date on all things tech and innovation for the planning, construction and property industries, head over to, the national resource website for innovators, investors and mentors or email .

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.



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