Writing | Business | Property | Social Change

Sunday Property Round-Up, November 19th

While the Sunday Independent has dedicated much of its analysis this week to the housing crisis, the Sunday Business Post is the newspaper to pick up if you only have time for one today.

 

15,000 Rogue landlords targeted for not registering tenants

 

This is the lead story in the Sunday Business Post today by Michael Brennan and Jack Horgan-Jones. The RTB  has apparently issued 15,500 letters to landlords warning them that they face fines of up to €3,000  if they do not fulfil their legal obligation to register. The watch dog has also issued 5,000 enforcement letters and 700 solicitors letters to rogue landlords who failed to respond at all. This article shows the week powers available to housing inspectors and lack of overall robustness in enforcement throughout the sector.

 

FF at war with estate agents

 

Philip Ryan, writing in the Sunday Independent, states that “FF at war with estate agents over fake bid claims“.  The party is bringing forward new legislation aimed at clamping down on estate agents who use fake bids to increase prices before sales. This proposal would put in place a prompt investigation process no longer than 10 days,  so that buyers who suspect inappropriate practices can have the matter investigated without losing the opportunity to bid. IPAV has called on  The party to report any evidence of fake beards to the Property Services Regulatory Authority and let the agency investigate the claims.  IPAV Chief Executive Pat Davitt is quoted as saying “If the market wasn’t going well there might be some grounds, but when the market is powering ahead, why would auctioneers want to make fake bids”.  Let us hope for the sake of the profession that that particular quote was taken out of context…

 

How high can house prices go?

 

There is a bumper feature in The Sunday Business Post today on the mortgage and housing market with lots of independent analysis and commentary so I suggest picking up the newspaper today to get a thorough understanding .  Any synopsis here would not do it justice!

 

Other property-related news

 

  • ‘The housing crisis is about people, not just prices: houses or not affordable, whatever Economist say. Just ask anyone still struggling to buy or rent one’ writes Eilis O’Hanlon.   This piece comes in the wake of the most recent findings by the ESRI  that house prices in Ireland are set to rise by a further 20% of the next three years.  She goes on to say that “experts have all the facts but still come up with the wrong answer“ and it is difficult to argue with this. While the situation in Ireland housing market right now does not constitute ‘a bubble’,  The writer maintains that this technicality is preventing so-called experts from seeing the “gaping disconnect between theory and experience, then asking what are we missing here?“ She admits that there is no simple answer, obviously more new homes need to be built and delivered to the market at competitive prices But can the public sector be depended upon for this?  But can the public sector be depended upon for this? “The private sector proved during the boom that hundreds of thousands of units could be built if there is a profit to be made. The trick is to do the same in more straitened circumstances, and no one has figured out how to do that.“

 

  • In his Soapbox column, Gene Kerrigan writes ‘Can’t fix the problem? Fix the statistics: The heartbreaking truth is brushed aside in favour of nonsense the political fateful want to hear’. He [arguably unfairly] chronicles the “ineffective” succession of Ministers tasked with solving the housing crisis, the politicking around reporting the true figures and An Taoiseach’s recent, ill-advised attempt to normalise homelessness.
  • He concludes “If a solvable problem persists, it is not a problem, it’s a policy”.

 

  • Alanis Capital (controlled by the McCormack family) pays €89m for Gerry Barrett’s hotel and property empire.

 

  • There appears to be an error  on page 4 of the Sunday Business Post today – unless I’m very behind in my Reit news – which attributes commentary to Kevin Nowlan but incorrectly describes him as the Ires Reit boss.  [I will assume that’s an error, if I am wrong please do let me know] In any event,  in any event, he is calling for second home buyers to take a tax hit,  for example by increasing the stamp duty rate.  This would put Ireland more in line with other countries and perhaps or to be considered.

 

  • Lugus Capital, ‘Cork evicting giant’ according to the SBP today is targeting young professionals for its 400 apartments after renovation.

 

  • Dublin City Council deputy chief executive Brendan Kenny has told the SBP that generous tax breaks for developers cannot be ruled out if the housing logjam is to be overcome.

 

  • Laing O’Rourke, the UK-based global engineering and construction giant is expected to generate a profit this year after recording losses of €290m (turnover €3.7bn) in 2016. Chief executive and majority shareholder, Ray O’Rourke, is interviewed on page 6 of the Business section.

 

  • The demolition of controversial Apollo House is to get underway this week To make way for the development of an 11 -storey office building.

 

  • Louise McBride has a feature dealing with the local property tax (LPT) on page 8 of the business section in today’s Sunday Independent. This is more for consumers than practitioners, however, it’s a timely reminder that the deadline for arranging payment is November 25th.

 

  • Ronan Lyons today writes that ‘High rents a symptom and not the problem’.   He attempts to explain how rents are still rising at double-digit rates despite rent caps in many areas of high demand. He explains “the problem is that controls on rent  increases turn the market into a system with insiders pitted against outsiders. Those who have a lease keep it. Those who have to move, either into the city or to somewhere new because circumstances change, lose out.“  to solve the underlying problem, a significant volume of new homes is required for the rental market. He goes so far as to say that Dublin needs an additional 800 homes per month, which is effectively an apartment block per week.  He believes the challenge for policymakers is to transform the cities construction sector into one of the best in the world at building apartments rather than suburban, three bed semis.

 

  • Commercial property editor, Ronald Quinlan, has an excellent feature today on Dublin’s Docklands area calling it a “high-powered engine of recovery“.  The piece is accompanied by a map detailing key tenancies and space under construction. This comes as Google closes in to new acquisitions, the Treasury Building, and the historic Boland’s Quay site in Dublin 2. Since the property market started to recover in 2012, the Docklands has accounted for approximately 3 million ft.² (or 22%) of the total market. Office rents in the area have almost double since that time.

 

  • Donal Buckley explores why the costs of apartment building are so high in Ireland, which an average apartment costing €578,000 to build but will only sell for €383,000. This is a huge, but rarely-talked about challenge to be faced as we make the necessary move away from our trend of suburban sprawl.

 

  • Samantha McCaughren, writing in her Ergo column about the largesse of developer Paddy McKillen (Snr.) in welcoming new competition into the Dublin market. The veteran developer wrote a ”glowing endorsement” of Anville Properties (Michael Nolan and Alan Mooney) proposal to develop two mews buildings off Dawson St. into a restaurant.

 

  • There is continued speculation about Johnny Ronan’s long-held plans to develop a hotel on the site of the newly-reopened Bewleys Cafe on Grafton Street.  It will likely be many years away but we watch with interest.

Proptech

 

There is a great piece on page 6 of the SBP about Popertee, the now UK-based, Irish proptech start-up founded by Lucinda Kelly, which is planning to raise €2m to expand into the US.  Well done to the team there, I have no doubt they will hit and exceed their funding target.  Definitely one to watch!

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.

We have no more free mentoring sessions for #proptech start-ups available in 2017, however, we are now taking appointments for dates in January, February and March before this CSR initiative ends, email  news@prop-tech.ie for details.

 

Property Insiders Guide

 

Oak Tree Press has launched their new ebook series for the Irish property market , further details here:   http://www.successstore.com/property-insiders-guides.html

Also, the new book, written by myself and solicitor Susan Cosgrove of Cosgrove Gaynard is now available:

The Property Insider’s Guide to the Legal Process: How to Work Efficiently with Your Solicitor

 

(Finally, as always, apologies for any typos, it’s difficult to get good help on a Sunday!)

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