Category Archives: Irish Property News


25/01/2017 – Daft

Searches for new homes in Limerick have increased by 91% in the week’s following the launch of the “Help-to-buy” scheme by the Government, according to Ireland’s No.1 Property website –

The property website which has 2.21 million unique users each month recorded an increase of 91% in searches for new homes in Limerick when compared with the same period last year.

Commenting on the data; Martin Clancy from said: “The spike in searches was quite large and certainly points to an increased interest in new homes on the back of the launch of the “Help-to-buy” scheme for first-time buyers. The areas to attract the most interest in Limerick were Castletroy, Annacotty, Raheen, Rhebogue and Limerick City.”

“In Limerick City, prices between September and December 2016 were 7.6% higher than a year previously. The average house price is now €166,000, that’s an increase of 39.4% from the lowest point.”

Top 5 search locations for New Homes in Limerick:

  1. Castletroy
  2. Annacotty
  3. Raheen
  4. Rhebogue
  5. Limerick City

On average over 1,000 property searches occur on every minute.

Good news for mortgage holders: ECB rate hike ‘years off’

Independant Newspaper 16th December 2016

There is unlikely to be a rise in European Central Bank interest rates for the coming years, a development that will be a huge boost to thousands of mortgage holders

Moves by the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, on Tuesday to increase its interest rates and signal more to come had prompted fears of rate rises in the eurozone.

But the head of global strategy at Standard Life said in Dublin yesterday there was unlikely to be any move to hike European interest rates before 2019.

Andrew Milligan said international markets had not priced in any rise before 2019, and he did not see eurozone rates rising.

“The European Central Bank (ECB) is not going to raise interest rates,” he said.

This view was backed up by Irish analysts.

Both Dermot O’Leary of Goodbody Stockbrokers and Alan McQuaid of Merrion Capital said a European rate rise was years off.

This will come as good news to mortgage holders, particularly those on tracker rates.

Trackers are pegged to the ECB lending rate, and cannot be increased unless the ECB raises its main rate.

It could be three to four years before interest rates rise.

It is estimated that about 350,000 mortgage holders are now on tracker rates, with about 300,000 on variable rates.

Another 100,000 are thought to be on fixed rates.

Founder of Brendan Burgess said fixed rates were not to be recommended, as variable rates were expected to fall. Mr Burgess quoted Central Bank data indicating the variable rate for existing mortgage holders is around 3.82pc.

Bank of Ireland boss Richie Boucher recently said he deliberately kept his bank’s variable rate high to encourage customers to fix.

A bill to allow the Central Bank to force rates lower continues to be examined in an Oireachtas Committee.

Low housing stock will fuel accelerating price inflation, say analysts

Irish Times 16th December 2016

Property industry experts welcome help for first-time buyers and forecast busy 2017

Marian Finnegan Chief economist, Sherry FitzGerald

New dwelling sales encouragingly increased during the second quarter, totalling about 2,400 in the first six months. This represents an uplift of 9 per cent on the same period in 2015. Developers are focusing on more expensive property types for which demand is more secure. That said, budgetary and recent measures should begin to address this issue.

On an annual basis, average rents nationwide increased 9.9 per cent, with the growth in apartment rents continuing to outpace house rents. Notably, annual rental inflation for apartments outside Dublin was at a record high at the end of June 2016, at 12.7 per cent. The second quarter saw average rents in Dublin exceed the peak levels recorded in the final quarter of 2007 by 3.9 per cent.

On the supply side, in July residential units advertised for sale nationwide were down 14 per cent when compared to July 2015. In Dublin, available stock was down 18 per cent annually. This represents 1 per cent of the total private stock. All four local authorities saw supply levels decrease on an annual basis, with the highest reduction – 28 per cent – in south Co Dublin. Commuting counties around Dublin also recorded a decrease in supply during the 12 months, albeit a more moderate decline compared to Dublin.

Budget 2017 with its help-to-buy scheme and last week’s amendment to the lending policy for first-time buyers are to be welcomed. The previous restrictive lending policy towards first-time buyers had stifled the supply of new residential units and led to the exclusion of important cohorts from the market. The new policy is more in line with international practice and it should help underpin an increase in construction activity.

The preliminary census figures have revealed a greater increase in the State’s population than had been forecast. This, combined with the historically low construction levels of recent years, means the gap between the demand for housing and the supply has widened considerably. Our current forecasts suggest we need to deliver 35,000 units per annum over the next 10 years. It is essential that any barrier to delivering these be removed.

Keith Lowe Chief executive, DNG

Only 1,189 new home units were built and sold in Dublin in 2015 in new housing estates of three or more units. For the first six months of 2016 there were only 709. The new 5 per cent first-time buyer’s grant, which will be a strong selling point for houses priced at under €500,000, will assist in giving confidence to builders and ultimately will lead to more supply.

The percentage of new homes being bought for rental purposes is negligible due to high taxes and little funding being available for buy-to-let investors.

Despite rent certainty measures being introduced by the Government, rental levels have surpassed their previous height in the second quarter of 2006 and continue to move upwards as the number of houses and apartments rented out continues to go down due to many landlords leaving the sector.

This exodus is as a result of high taxes and the fact that many buy-to-let mortgages, which were originally interest-only, have reverted to capital and interest payments that are proving harder for landlords to service.

Many of these rental units when sold are tending to return to their original use as family homes. Few new landlords are entering the sector due to limited buy-to-let funding being available and the high tax regime in place. Landlords, who still cannot write off 100 per cent of their interest payments against rental income, are forced to pay USC on rental income and property tax, which makes renting properties in Ireland unattractive despite the record high rents.

Period houses in first-class south Dublin suburbs have sold well. Property sales in suburbs on the northside have been particularly strong and with the new Luas line under construction we predict that property price rises on the northside will exceed those on the southside in 2017.

Next year we would expect property prices to rise by 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent in Dublin – and by 10 per cent for properties priced below €220,000. Outside Dublin prices will rise 10 per cent and rents will increase at the same rate.

Budget 2017: Housing agencies respond to measures

11/10/2016 Irish Times

Groups welcome €1.2bn funding but divided over effectiveness of help-to-buy scheme

Construction Industry Federation: The federation (CIF) has described measures introduced in the budget as a “significant step towards solving the housing crisis”.

CIF director general Tom Parlon said the critical problem has been the lack of supply in new builds. He welcomed the introduction of a tax rebate scheme aimed at helping first-time buyers to save deposits for starter homes.

The CIF also welcomes the extension of the Home Renovation Incentive scheme which it described as a “highly successful scheme for those seeking to increase their house size and to upgrade their homes”.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland (SCSI): The society said the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme announced in Budget 2017 will have very little impact on the housing crisis because supply is the problem, not demand.

SCSI president Claire Solon said the Government should have focused on supply measures as they would have a greater impact on the crisis, help stabilise house prices and offer a better return to the taxpayer.

She added: “In our view, the Government should have been focusing on initiatives to make development viable, like reducing VAT on affordable housing, making public land available for affordable housing schemes and providing finance to help kick-start building on sites around the country, with all the employment and tax benefits that this would bring.”

Property Industry Ireland: The Ibec group for businesses working in the property sector, welcomed the housing measures.

PII chairman Tom Phillips said the “Help-to-Buy” scheme for first-time buyers should encourage the building of new homes.

PII director Dr David Duffy welcomed the attractiveness for landlords of the private-rented sector.

He added: “The continued commitment to the delivery of social housing is welcome. PII looks forward to engaging with Government on implementing the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan.”

The Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers: The institute said the help-to-buy measures in the budget should stimulate supply boosting confidence among builders and developers.

Budget 2017: New help-to-buy scheme explained

11/10/2016 The Irish Times

Income tax rebate for first-time buyers aims to boost housing supply and property market

The budgetary measures on housing were long anticipated to address affordability, inadequate levels of new homes construction, low housing stock and rapidly rising rents.

What’s the silver bullet then?

Well . . . a help-to-buy scheme for first-time buyers that will give a rebate of income tax of 5 per cent of the purchase value of a newly built home, up to a value of €400,000. That translates to a maximum rebate of €20,000 in cash. Properties costing from €400,000 to €600,000 will qualify for the €20,000 rebate, but the scheme will not apply to homes over €600,000 in value. It will be back dated to July 19th last and will run until the end of 2019.

Brilliant, a first-time buyer’s grant with a different name. So anyone buying a house for the first time will get a leg up on to the property ladder?

No. It only applies to buyers of newly built homes. For a new house costing €300,000, a couple buying their first home will get a rebate worth €15,000, but they will still need to save €23,000 for a deposit and have a combined income of about €75,000 to meet the mortgage rules. So many Dubliners dreaming of one day buying a house close to where they grew up can forget it. And with a cap of €600,000 on the value of the new home, they can start swotting up transport routes to and from the wider Dublin area, pushing into Kildare, Meath, Louth and Wicklow.

That seems a bit unfair?

Not if you’re happy to live outside Dublin. The idea is to kickstart new homes building at a more affordable level. Developers insist the margins just are not there at the moment for them to build starter homes, and the banks will not finance them anyway. The current focus in Dublin is on pricier developments aimed at the cash-rich trading up or down. help-to-buy is likely to have the greatest impact outside Dublin initially, and even then there is going to be a time lag as we wait a couple of years for new homes to come onstream.

Budget 2017: Landlords ‘disappointed’ despite longed-for tax break

13/10/2016 – IRISH TIMES

Budget 2017: Landlords ‘disappointed’ despite longed-for tax break

Landlords will get some relief on their 2017 tax bills thanks to the budget, in which Minister for Finance Michael Noonan signalled an increase in tax relief on mortgage interest in 2017 and a full restoration by 2021.

Landlords will be able to deduct 80 per cent of the interest paid on borrowings on a rental property next year, up from 75 per cent previously, with “full interest deductibility” expected by 2021.

Mr Noonan said it is “an appropriate time” to revisit this measure in the context of the housing crisis.

“In light of the incentive I introduced last year to support landlords who let their property to social housing tenants for a minimum period of three years, I am going to restore full interest deductibility for other landlords on a phased basis and my first step is to increase the level from 75 per cent to 80 per cent in 2017. I will increase it by instalments of 5 per cent until the full 100 per cent deductibility is restored,” he said.

Budget: Wins for first time buyers, landlords and homeowners

11/10/2016 Irish Examiner website

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has announced details of the new package to help first time buyers who purchase new homes up to the value of €600,000 Writes Irish Examiner Political reporter Elaine Loughlin.

However second-hand homes are not included in the new measures. Instead the government has extended the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme by two years to the end of 2018.

Mr Noonan has also introduced a raft of measures to ease the rental crisis as part of Budget 2017 including increasing the tax-free amount people can earn through renting rooms in their home.

The help-to-buy for first time buyers scheme will provide a rebate of income tax paid over the previous four tax years up to a maximum of 5% of the purchase price of a new home up to a value of €400,000.

Mr Noonan said pro-rata rates will apply to lower priced houses and a full rebate will be also calculated on the first €4000,000 of homes bought for up to €600,000. However, those who buy properties over €600,000 will not be able to avail of the help-to-buy scheme.

Mr Noonan said: “The lack of supply of new houses also impact on the rental sector and I am announcing a number of new measures to help increase the supply of rental accommodation.

“Interest deductabiity for residential property landlords was restricted to 75% in 2009 as part of the measures introduced to rescue the public finances.”

Mr Noonan said it is now “time to revisit this”.

The Finance Minister said that last year he introduced an incentive to support landlords who let their property to social housing tenants for at least three years and announced that the government is now going to restore full interest deductability for other landlords on a “phased basis”.

The first step is to increase the level from 75% to 80% in 2017 he said.

The income ceiling for the rent-a-room scheme is to increased by €2,000 meaning people can earn up to €14,000 per annum without paying income tax.

“This will allow homeowners to rent out addition rooms at current average prices while remaining within the scope of the scheme,” Mr Noonan has told the Dáil.

Property website reports post-budget surge in new homes searches

13/10/2016 –, which has 2.21 million users every month, said the amount of inquiries on its site for new builds had more than doubled in the 24 hours since Finance Minister Michael Noonan had announced a property rebate scheme.

The company said that compared to the average hit rates for any other day in 2016 it had led to a 130% increase in interest. said inquiries about new homes had been greatest in the Dublin area, along with the commuter belt around the capital, followed by Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford cities.

Martin Clancy from said: “The spike in searches on Tuesday was quite large and certainly points to an increased interest in new homes on the back of the announcement by the Government.”

The online property firm said more than 1,000 property searches were run on its website every minute.

The new initiative has been criticised by some estate agents, economists and industry experts over fears that it will immediately lead to an increase in asking prices as developers and auctioneers look on it as giving buyers an extra 20,000 euro.

Daft’s latest report put the average value of a three-bedroom semi-detached house in South County Dublin at about 500,000 euro compared to less than 100,000 euro in most of rural Munster and Connacht.

The Central Bank said Mr Noonan’s 5% tax rebate scheme for first-time buyers did not breach its strict mortgage lending rules, designed to prevent a repeat of the devastating property bubble.

It warned last month that f irst-time buyers had to save for up to four years to buy a three bedroom house in some areas.

Mr Noonan said: “There is a problem.

“There are no starter homes being built that young people can buy.

“What is being provided now is much more expensive, the young couples, the nurse, teacher, the guard, middle grade public servants, they just can’t buy houses.

“This is to help them put a deposit together.”

One of the Central Bank’s most startling findings in its latest analysis of house prices was that the average deposit for a first-time buyer in south county Dublin was now 76,000 euro – about double what they would have needed two years ago.

On the southside of the city and in the city centre, deposits were about 50,000 euro, again about double what was needed in the middle of 2014.

The experts said deposit demands had increased by 10,000 to 22,000 euro in other parts of the city and county in the same period but by less than 5,000 euro outside the capital.

Press Association

What a difference a year makes

04/01/2016 Ronan Lyons, Daft’s in-house economist, commenting on the latest Daft research on the Irish property market.

The latest figures in this Daft Report confirm that the housing market has levelled off in Dublin, while it is still recovering in most other parts of the country. Inflation in Dublin has fallen from nearly 25% in mid-2014 to less than 3% by the end of 2015, while elsewhere in the country, inflation has risen from 2% to 13% in the same period.

Where does this leave the housing market? A year ago, despite a plethora of Government announcements and policy statements, it was hard to argue that Ireland had a coherent housing strategy. Not least when prices and rents had risen by up to 40% in three years in the capital and housing shortages were emerging everywhere.

The housing shortages persist: just 25,000 homes were on the market on December 1st this year, the lowest for this time of year since 2006. Nonetheless, the outlook for the housing market looks much healthier now than it did in 2014. Perhaps most importantly, the mortgage rules mean that whatever else happens, house prices cannot engage in the destructive upward spiral that took place in the decade to 2006.

But more recently other aspects of housing policy have been examined and are starting to change. With an election only months away, it is useful to step back and see the bigger picture on housing policy. There are four main areas where government intervention is needed in the housing market. The first relates to the supply of mortgage credit. As discussed above, this is largely in place now.

The second relates to the supply of private housing: here the government needs to limit construction costs relative to our incomes in the same way mortgage credit is now linked to the real economy.

As 2015 draws to a close, we are beginning to see an understanding on the part of Government that its actions largely determine build costs. The National Competitiveness Council, for example, has recently committed to benchmark the cost of building homes in Dublin and other Irish cities, compared to our peers. This will provide the evidence base for closing the gap between construction costs and the real economy.

In the absence of official figures, it is estimated that a two-bedroom apartment costs roughly €280,000 (excluding land costs), roughly twice the level consistent with the incomes of households that would live in two-bedroom apartments. Thus, requirements regarding basement car parks, lifts, orientation and yes, minimum sizes, are to be welcomed. Remember these are minimums, not targets, and local authorities still have the final say on any particular project.

The third area for government action – supply of public housing – follows directly on from the second. Once you have decided what the minimum cost is for building a home, anyone earning less than this needs a subsidy to give them access to housing. Otherwise, they are being denied their human right to housing. Unfortunately, this is an area where very little change has taken place.

Ultimately, the plethora of current forms of intervention, from rent supplement and HAP to putting families up in hotels, needs to be replaced by a single unified housing-related income top-up. This would then render almost irrelevant the discussion of who is providing the housing – the state or the private sector – and thus prevent the ghettoization of lower-income households.

The final area for government policy relates to land use. In many ways, this is the one area where emergency measures are not required. Land use has been dysfunctional in Ireland for decades, so what’s another few years? Sorting out lend rules and the supply of homes, including for low-income households, is enough for the next Government.

But to ensure that decade after decade, land is used well and thus housing is readily available and affordable, a land tax is required. Ireland missed a trick when introducing its Local Property Tax. Many afterwards believed that a land value tax would never happen in Ireland. However, a growing coalition supports the idea. It started with Dublin City Council, who have proposed a vacant site levy.

This will be problematic unless applied to all commercial, industrial and development land, though, and more recently both the National Competitiveness Council and the Economic & Social Research Institute have called for a broader land value tax. Ideally, this would replace all development levies, commercial rates and perhaps stamp duties.

The figures contained in this report show that acute supply shortages persist, with the Central Bank rules protecting house prices in Dublin. While lots of tough reforms still need to be made, at least there are encouraging signs that policymakers understand not only the nature of the problem but also of the solution.

Full Daft Report Here: