Below is a quick look back at the industry stories from the first week of 2018. For property-related news today, The Sunday Times newspaper is definitely unmissable for its annual Property Price Guide.
Also, Brenda Power has an interesting commentary piece today headed ‘Too much money and homelessness for a sensible solution to be chosen’. This is a headline that is sure to make many people uncomfortable, however it is something that I mentioned here many times in 2017. The reality is that we, as a nation, have allowed homelessness to become a sector within our property industry and it is one that employs close to 1,000 people. The main problem is that many of these people are employed to “manage“ rather than solve Ireland’s growing homelessness problem. Newly re-appointed head of the Housing Agency Connor Skehan is the only civil servant to speak out about this. Unsurprisingly, there was an outpouring of indignant protest at his re-appointment last week by many of our housing charities (AHBs). It is worth noting that it is Conor Skehan who pushed for the establishment of approved housing bodies rather than dealing with the plethora of well-intentioned, though often misdirected, so-called charities – with highly paid executives – that were involved until recently. I see his reappointment as a strong signal of intent to actually put forward solutions to end homelessness in Ireland rather than simply expand the resources being used to manage it and this can only be a good thing for Ireland. I was involved in a rather controversial panel discussion on Newstalk FM about this last month and you can link to listen back here.
As always, please do let me know if I have missed out on any interesting property news by emailing email@example.com.
Property Price Guide 2018
As your Sunday read, I recommend sitting down with coffee and the Property Price Guide 2018 (in The Sunday Times today). The statistics for each type of property in each county in the Republic of Ireland are broken down in this guide so it is an important and timely read for all property professionals heading back to work tomorrow. The following highlights are just a few of the insights from around the country:
- Property prices nationwide have increased an average of 62% from their lowest point – Dublin is up 86.4%
- According to Graeme Lennox “the market was at its more to liquid for years“ in 2017
- Catchment areas for good state schools remains a driving force for owner occupiers
- Ireland has demand for 50,000 new homes per year for the next few years
- 2018 is expected to be dominated by first-time buyers seeking new homes
Columnist Lorcan Sirr has an article on page 17 of this guide where he refutes new homes statistics “For number-crunchers such as myself, This year exposed to the Department of Housing’s inability or unwillingness to measure accurately house-building, and its penchant for manipulating, obfuscating and misrepresenting housing output”.
One of the lighter pieces in the guide comes from Annie Sellers entitled ‘Gross Encounters: when you’re showing clients around the home, it’s as well to be prepared for the unexpected‘. It includes anecdotes from agents about some of the experiences they have had while showing prospective buyers around homes. After almost a decade of house-hunting with and for buyers I can attest that strange things do happen..!
Other property news
- As mentioned above, Conor Skehan has been ‘temporarily’ reappointed to Housing Authority, details here.
- Those living with dementia will live an easier life in coming year with the opening of Ireland’s first ”dementia village” in 2018 (special thanks to JP McManus). Link to the full story here.
- One of the biggest property stories this week came from David McWilliams, writing in the Irish Times ‘The crash was foreseeable. The rapid recovery wasn’t : The Crash – 10 years on: This was part of a classic cycle. The recovery came as a bit of a shock’. Link to the full article here.
- ‘I was disappointed with RTE over social housing price’, says council chief. Read the full interview here.
- On the front page of The Sunday Times today, Mark Tighe has a report on developer Bernard McNamara and his earnings boost since emerging from a €1.139bn bankruptcy in 2014. Operating through MB McNamara Construction Ltd., The developer has been about and several high-profile developments of late including projects for Dennis O’Brien across Dublin 2 and an extension to Michael Smurfit‘s K Club golf resort.
- Irish developer Dean McKillen is apparently being sued by a contractor involved in the €73 million Bel-Air mansion he sold to Jay Z and Beyoncé. McKillen disputes the final invoice amount of $200,000.
- Jennifer Carroll MacNeill has been appointed as special advisor to Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.
- Cork and Limerick will be barometer of progress in 2018, full story here.
- Valerie Flynn has an article on the proposal to ban cars from College Green in order to create a “vibrant plaza to rival those of other cities”. This comes as Dublin’s Chamber of Commerce recently joined with Dublin Bus to oppose the plan to pedestrianise College Green. Opposition appears to be mainly about the effect of traffic flow in the area and for public transport users as the area is a hub for interconnecting Dublin Bus routes. While I understand the likely inconvenience – as someone who drives in Dublin daily I have no desire to see the city centre further clogged – I accept that modern cities require pedestrian areas and plazas. Having lived in cities and large towns in the UK, France and Spain I have seen first-hand the positive effects of open-air dining and gathering for social events and everyday use.
- Ireland Expected To Attract €8bn In Data Centre Investments By 2021: https://data-economy.com/ireland-expected-attract-e8bn-data-centre-investments-2021/
- Nick Webb writes that Ronan O’Kane has stepped down as a director of Mercury Engineering following the recent MBO and Irish restaurateur turned property developer, Paddy Shovlin, has apparently “reinvented himself as a house builder, constructing up-market and starter homes in Stratford-upon-Avon and Leamington Spa in the British Midlands”.
- Here is an interesting article on Fintech, with many learning points for Proptech start-ups, from Financial Solutions Lab ‘What we’ve learned from 1,000 fintech companies’
- New fund: Enterprise Ireland are now advertising their new Agile Innovation Fund as “Responding to the threats and opportunities posed by Brexit demands innovation“. There is up to 50% of funding available for R&D projects up to €300,000. Check out their website on ambition.enterprise-ireland.com
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 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
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.
On a personal note, thank you all for your continued support and best wishes for a successful New Year!
(Finally, as always, apologies for any typos, it’s difficult to get good help on a Sunday!)