The expectation for today’s broadsheets was a full analysis of our Housing Minister’s keenly fought battle for Fine Gael leadership, which he lost out on to Leo Varadkar. Instead, all the Sunday papers, broadsheet and tabloid (with the noted exception of The Sunday Business Post) are dominated by hasty commentary on, and panicked photographs of, the London attacks last night. I work in London regularly and I know first-hand the resilience of the people there but there must surely be a limit to the shock and trauma and grief that any nation can shoulder. My thoughts today go out to all the families and people affected, what can be done, will be done.
The Sunday Times
Paradise on the rocks: I am starting with the Sunday Times today as it has stirred up a severe case of property envy over my morning coffee. Over a decade of house-hunting all around Ireland has left me somewhat immune to the charms of the Dermot Bannon-inspired steel and glass extension that is still en-vogue; for me, the true appeal of a home is the location and setting. And the setting doesn’t come much better than the cliff-top wonder that is number 23 Balscadden Road in Howth (pictured). This 242sqm, four-bedroom home is laid out with the living areas upstairs to maximise the views and the bedrooms are located on the lower level. Asking €1.5m through JB Kelly Estate Agents, this property will make a superb family home and if the purchasing family happens to enjoy hosting BBQs, I am available!
Two Dublin 8 houses listed with FelicityFox.ie, in Rialto and Inchicore are priced at €385,000 and €350,000 respectively. Both are refurbished and sure to appeal to first-time buyers or investors with an eye on future capital appreciation over yield.
Sunday Times house-hunter-in-residence Eithne Shortall writes that “To seek is better for the soul than to find”. I have no doubt that this is true for those in search of enlightenment but for house-hunters with more base or earthly needs, to find is definitely better. And to find quickly is the key message coming from this column today as the writer gives the example of one Kilmainham property that jumped €40,000 over asking price of €300,000 in just two weeks.
No one likes doling out free advice (actually, that’s not true, many people love doing that but I try not to); however, I feel compelled to repeat earlier advice to would-be buyers that unless you are driven to buy now and ready to make fast decisions, it might be better to step out of the market for a period of at least 18-24 months (or possibly longer) and wait until significant new supply starts to appear on the market.
Grainne Rothery writes about the “alternative” central business district that appears to be emerging along the Grand Canal, from Clanwilliam Place to Charlemont Bridge. Buildings and developments include:
- Velasco – Eight storey, 4,700sqm block recently completed and let to Google
- 55 Charlemont – Six storey, 5,400sqm development by Paddy McKillen Jnr (Oakmount) leased to Zendesk
- 21 Charlemont – six storey, 3,400sqm building developed by Rohan Holdings is now available through JLL quoting €592per sqm
- Construction is underway for a 180-bed Clayton hotel by Dalata on the former Charlemont Clinic site (expected date of completion, October 2017)
- 75 social housing units are being developed by McGarrell Reilly for DCC as part of a public-private partnership
- That site will then extend to 184 private apartments and two commercial blocks and almost 3,000 sqm of retail
In his column this week, Lorcan Sirr has hit on a point that the #proptech community in Ireland and the UK have been making for a few years now, that it, the housing powers that be need to sit up and pay attention to new players in the industry and use the information that they gather to make intelligent and relevant data-driven decisions on the future delivery of homes, work and community spaces. Start-ups (or up-starts) and true disruptors are revolutionising how we live, eat, travel , holiday, communicate and even find romance. Irrespective of the industries they are disrupting, they all have one huge aspect in common, that is, the collection or acquisition of rich, actionable, and often real-time data. On a micro level, BIM does this within the pre-construction and construction phases. On a macro-level, Google and Facebook have the actual data to improve housing and commercial property policy-making far beyond any State capacity. It is for the State to tap into these existing resources. This is something that the community behind www.Prop-Tech.ie are passionate about exploring so head over to the website and contribute any ideas or feedback that you might have.
Elsewhere in the paper
- Apartments in the one-time salubrious Ardoyne House in Ballsbridge are apparently being acquired, off-market, in a series of deals by Bartra Capital (€0.5m-€1m each) believed to be working towards full refurbishment of the 1960’s complex in collaboration with many of the current owners.
- In his column, Brian Carey calls out Nama chief Brendan McDonagh for employing the “diversionary tactic” of blaming property developers for land hoarding (on the basis that land with planning for 50,000 homes was sold jet only 3,000 homes actually delivered to date). My favourite line? “Perhaps the agency was too busy monitoring other people not building houses to build houses. How very civil service.”
- Permanent TBS has apparently relaxed its credit rules for mortgage customers by taking into consideration earnings from overtime, commission and bonus payments, in addition to salary, up to a generous cap of 50% of basic salary.
- Niall Brady writes that private investors (via the banks) are losing interest in the mortgage-to-rent scheme due to delays by the Minister, accusing him of being ‘distracted’ by recent unsuccessful campaigning. [Have I already pointed out that I don’t necessarily agree with every report or opinion that I include in this round up?]
The Sunday Business Post
The property section leads with a feature on how to best present your property for the market and tips for giving your home and garden a makeover or ‘placelift’.
Catherine Healy showcases a stunning home on the shore of Lough Swilly, with floor to ceiling windows and a view to justify them. With an asking price of €1.25m, it will be interesting to see what buyers this Donegal home attracts.
Donal Buckley writes about the increase in residential – in particular, student -development projects nationwide. He quotes the value of on-site projects in the first three months of 2017 as €1.4 billion. Also, the value of student development projects has increased from €61.4m to €150.4m. This follows on from the planning updates I referenced here last week, estimating a further delivery of student rooms in excess of 1,200 in 2017.
Elsewhere in the paper
- Lisney has announced its latest alliance with Kilkenny firm, FitzGerald Auctioneers. [This is something that I am following with interest in recent years since I started to see a trend for independent estate agencies toward collaboration rather than the old-school franchise model. Independent estate agencies want the strategic support in areas like technology, innovation, marketing, communications and PR, without the restrictive and costly franchise model that, arguably, benefits firms on a geographical rather than quality basis. And this is not an Irish trend, it can be seen more acutely in the English market. If this is something that you want to weigh in on, head over to www.PropertyDistrict.ie for the Irish perspective.]
- Tony Lyons has a mid-depth piece on developer and events promoter Harry Crosbie entitled ‘Anatomy of a fallen showman’ as Nama seeks to execute a €77m Judgement against him.
- According to Michael Brennan ‘Half of rental properties fail standards tests’, based on 17,000 inspections nationwide. This is becoming a more important issue as 20% of all households in Ireland are currently renting.
- On page 13, there is a glimpse into the ongoing battle between CRH (valued at €27 billion) and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) following the Supreme Court ruling last week to “collar the dawn raid powers” of the CCPC.
The front page of the property supplement this week features another Donegal coastal property, Carn Lodge in Ramelton. Asking €850,000, it has dropped significantly from its 2006 price of €2.2 million. With all the “character of a period property, but none of the maintenance headaches” this six-bed house with stunning interiors (complete with custom-cornicing) will make an impressive executive or family home.
The Architect’s Clinic this week is by Gary Mongey and deals with the popular query about converting your garage into living space in the context of planning regulations (generally exempt) and design.
Ronan Lyon’s column details why higher property tax is a good thing. He walks us through the three type of tax: income tax, consumption tax (like VAT) and wealth tax (like property tax). He explains that income and wealth taxes are consider progressive as everybody pays and those who have more pay more. Whereas consumption tax is regressive and unfair as it applies equally, therefore hits poorer households harder. That all makes sense. But where property tax causes controversy is that the value is simply a number of paper for long term or second (or third) generation property owners who have limited income resources.
Ronald Quinlan features quite an in-depth piece on Ires Reit and their future plans for Dublin on page 7. They too complain of land hoarding that is stunting local development.
Elsewhere in the paper
- ‘Housing hit by lack of control on Airbnb’: Apparently Dublin location authorities have issued enforcement orders to only 35 property owners of the 2,700 believed to be illegally short-term leasing their properties through the site.
- The Higher Education Authority is considering the use of shipping container homes for student housing in Ireland – finally! Anyone familiar with Project RIPPLE (the industry collaboration to build the first shipping container home in the Republic of Ireland back in late 2014) will know that there is massive industry support for this provided it is done right and in a cost-effective way.
- And I appreciate that this is not even vaguely property-related by on page 30 there is a CAO – Change of Mind feature with tips and helpful points to consider. If you are having a CAO conversation in your house this year, you will understand!