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Sunday Property Round-Up, July 16th


As regular readers will know by now, the property supplements slow or stop altogether for the summer months so I will be taking a look at property and broader property-related stories from across the main broadsheets.

You are welcome to email me with any industry news and updates at Carol@CarolTallon.com.

The Sunday Times

  • Philip Connolly writes that ‘Nama homes rejected as social housing are now 98% occupied’ – only 72 of the 4,000 houses offered by Nama but deemed unsuitable by local authorities now remain vacant.
  • Brian Carey reports of ‘Lotus debt deal to aid Limerick development’ – referring to the alternative lender stepping in to refinance Sli na Manach (in Raheen/Dooradoyle area of the city) with the developer Genesis (headed by former McInerney Holdings chief Barry O’Connor).
  • The substantial family home of the late Des Kelly (Ireland’s ‘carpet man’) on four acres in Dunboyne is on the market through Wyse Estate Agents priced at €1.25m.
  • Property editor Linda Daly, in her column, writes how ‘Help-to-buy has had little impact, for good or bad’ and that sentiment is definitely borne out through the property commentary; however, earlier this week I interviewed one of Ireland’s busiest house builders and he confirmed that the scheme has had a significant impact for builders, despite new homes representing a mere 10% of the sales market since the scheme’s introduction.  In fact, he explained that this scheme is reassuring lenders that buyers will be able to purchase and this is part of their decision to lend.  From this perspective, HTB initiative is vital to facilitate new supply – although, at the other end of the property spectrum, I can see the negative affect it is having on buyers…

 

Sunday Independent

 

  • An Taoiseach apparently intends to re-evaluate property tax in order to avoid dramatic increases in 2019 and indicated that there might be more flexibility for local authorities to vary the tax.
  • On page 28 is a comment piece entitled ‘Property and the squeezed middle’. In it, the writer describes how – despite a wane in the recent decade – Ireland is still a nation of owners and aspiring owners.   [This is something that I believe needs to change but it has not changed as a result of the most recent devastating property crash. ] The point is made the middle class pays the lion’s share of the tax in this country and yet are finding home ownership beyond them – particularly in Dublin.  The tone is unequivocal and  is best expressed in the final sentence of the piece:

    “But this newspaper would state, unashamedly, that the middle class are solid citizens; decent, hard-working and law-abiding, to be respected and admired, and would encourage Mr Varadkar to do all in his power to assist the noble aspiration towards property ownership for his and generations to come.”

  • Fearghal O’Connor reports that ‘Housebuilders suffer in insulation supply crisis’, with small builders being hit hardest as price of scare materials jump 10% in recent months. The shortage is as a result of a major fire at a factory in Germany last year. [Main suppliers in the Irish marketplace are Kingspan, Quinn International Holdings (QIH) and Xtratherm.]
  • Dan White writes that ‘Land hoarding is pushing up price of new houses’ – this is not a new story but rather documenting a growing frustration in the marketplace where fewer than 19,000 new homes will be delivered this year despite zoning for 415,000.  This is being touted as a main cause of the almost 12% jump in house prices over the past 12 months.  Among the worst offenders are not just the vulture funds, but rather public bodies.  This is the latest piece in the ongoing campaign in favour of a new vacant site levy – which former Housing Minister Simon Coveney confirmed would be in place by 2019, now we have to wait and see what the current administration are going to do.

 

Sunday Business Post

The front page cover headline says it all ‘DEVELOPERS AT WAR’ (because sometimes capitals are important!), and it carries a quote:

“Stop the bullsh*t, I can see through it from Cape Town”

Can you guess who said that, Sean Dunne or Greg Kavanagh?  This particular quote is from Dunne to Kavanagh and is the latest in the ongoing saga surrounding Walford on Shrewsbury Road in Dublin 4.  Mr Dunne claims that Mr Kavanagh made several attempts to purchase the property in question and believes that he (Greg Kavanagh) made similar approaches to the appointed bankruptcy official, Chris Lehane.  In response, Mr Kavanagh stated:

“Business is about integrity and our word.  If Mr Dunne makes accusations, he’d better have due reason to back them up”.

 

Also:

  • ‘Thousands of council flats to be razed in radical new Dublin housing plan’ – DCC have been making gradual improvements to their stock for the last decade but now accept that “a more radical vision/approach is required, including the possibility of widespread demolition and new build to modern standards, gaining much greater density on several strategic locations in the city”, said Brendan Kenny, deputy chief executive of Dublin City Council.
  • Nama’s €3billion profit is not subject to the same fiscal rules as sale of AIB stake, and may go to ‘rainy day’ fund.
  • Century Homes founder (Gerry McCaughey) has started a new ‘green’ construction company in the US, Entekra, backed by $10m investments and with headquarters in County Monaghan.
  • The IDA are to get more power to force land purchases in a bill currently being drafted. The move is to avoid a repeat of Thomas Reid’s block on sale of land to the state agency.
  • House price rises will trigger more building, according to the executive chairman of house builders Abbey, Charles Gallagher.
  • Mayo-based company, Big Red Barn (director Donal Byrne), plans to build modular housing. Any regular readers here will know of my passion for alternative builds [RIPPLE shipping container home] and for engineered off-site/system build solutions as a potential solution to many of our housing challenges; namely: supply, affordability, regulatory compliance, developer funding and so on…  So this is good news and we welcome more .
  • There’s an interesting piece on page 22 Comment & Analysis by Feargal Quinn ‘Dublin-centric Ireland needs a new outlook’. In this article, he starts:

“The government has suggested regional development is a priority.  Let’s hope it goes further than its predecessors, who specialised in lip service when it came to balanced development outside the capital.”

He makes the point about the slogan ‘Let’s keep the recovery going’ not being relevant to the many parts of Ireland where recovery has failed to begin.  He calls for greater infrastructure, services and incentives, which are required to nurture the much-needed regional development.

  • The CIS round-up on page 30 has a few interesting titbits, as follows:
    • DCC refuses Ronan Group’s D2 skyscraper
    • Irish Life gets go-ahead for six-storey, 7,000 sq. m Baggot St. office development
    • Site preparation works have begun on The Coombe hotel site (€22m project)
    • Appeals lodged against Cosgrave €85m housing scheme in Bray

 

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