Paul McNeive: ‘More change to come for property markets in 2019’

Paul McNeive

Everyone operating in the property market should be well read on trends in the industry, not least to bring ‘added value’ to meetings with developers and other clients. There is no better source of information than the ‘Emerging Trends in Real Estate: Europe’, a joint publication by The Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC. The forecast for 2019 points to some surprising trends, and given that the report is based on the opinions of 885 real estate professionals, investors, fund managers, financiers and developers, it deserves attention. Here are some of the points that caught my eye.

As a measure of the disruption in retailing caused by online competition, in a table rating the prospects for 27 asset classes; city centre shopping centres, retail parks and out-of-town shopping centres, hold the bottom three places respectively. Conversely, the shift to online retailing sees logistics rated at number two. Co-living, ie. residential development with smaller unit sizes but enhanced community facilities such as meeting spaces, gyms, cinemas and concierges, is rated as having the best prospects for both investment and development. This type of development is rare here (our student housing is probably closest) – but watch out for it becoming a feature in our cities.

The report points to another shift in the market in that, whilst there is agreement that European markets are at, or close to, the top of the cycle, instead of investors settling for secondary assets to try and get value, they are moving into alternative markets. Thus we see sectors such as retirement/assisted living, serviced offices, data centres, student housing, private rented residential, serviced apartments, housebuilding and social housing making up the top 10 rated sectors. The emphasis on residential development is interesting, and reflects a shortage of housing in cities across Europe.

In the office sector, the effect of co-working cannot be ignored. This is the renting of desk spaces or larger flexible spaces on short leases, with communal facilities. This sub-sector accounted for 15pc of all office take-up in London last year, and is growing. The report says that co-working is changing the way occupiers use space and will lead to reduced space requirements over the long-term. Co-working is changing the nature of corporates’ relationships with landlords, is getting into the agents’ space, and is referred to as “the Amazon of the office market”. The office market is undergoing a structural change, similar to that experienced in retailing. Property agents take note!

The report predicts an increasing pace of urbanisation across the continent. In a ranking of the overall prospects for investment and development in 31 cities, Dublin is third. Lisbon and Berlin are rated above Dublin, but London, where Brexit issues are weighing heavily on the market, is ranked at 29. UK provincial cities like Manchester and Birmingham are also predicted to perform relatively poorly.

The report points out that London’s position is paradoxical in that, despite Europe’s biggest and most liquid real estate market, being ranked relatively poorly for last year, money continued to flow in. This was largely driven by Asian buyers seeking large assets and exploiting weaker Sterling. Investment spending in the year to the end of Q3 2018, was €20bn in London, and the next highest city is Paris at €12bn.

Another slight surprise is that Europe’s property industry leaders rate “transport connectivity” (road, rail and airports) as the most important factor in choosing where to develop and invest. Availability of assets, forecast returns, and market size and liquidity, are next. I suspect the seventh place ranking of digital connectivity is down to an assumption that it’s is a given, at this stage.

The full report is available at and every property professional should be reading it. I suggest asking your graduates to present a summary of it to your firm, some lunchtime.

Homeowners here still paying more for mortgages than other countries in euro area


Homeowners here continue to pay more than the typical cost for a mortgage in the other countries in the euro area.

A lack of competition in the banking market has been blamed.

New figures from the Central Bank show that home buyers paid an average interest rate on new mortgages agreed in October of 3.06pc, compared with an EU average of 1.77pc.

The regulator had originally put out a figure of 3.14pc for the average new mortgage rate in October.

When questioned by this publication, it admitted this was an error.

“That [3.14pc] figure is incorrect and will be corrected. It should be 3.06pc instead of 3.14pc,” the Central Bank.

The average interest rate in September was 3.08pc, which means that rates have gone down ever so slightly.

Last month European Central Bank president Mario Draghi, speaking in Dublin, blamed a “quasi-monopoly” among banks here for the high rates. AIB and Bank of Ireland dominate the market.

Calculations based on the Central Bank mean a typical new buyer is paying almost €157 more for their mortgage each month compared with the average in the Eurozone.

Read more: Where are Ireland’s top housing markets? Increase of 20pc in Irish property millionaires

Over a year this works out at almost €1,900 a year more being paid here by a typical new borrower than in the rest of the euro currency area, according to calculations by price comparison site

The latest mortgage cost figures come as Fianna Fáil representatives met with Central Bank officials to discuss ways to tighten rules for variable mortgage interest rates, as part of a new Confidence and Supply deal with Fine Gael.

The party is now demanding new laws to limit hikes to variable mortgage rates be introduced in return for propping up Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s Government.

The Central Bank previously said that interest rates are “subject to existing contracts and contract law”. It also said it was concerned about the Central Bank’s statutory functions to “encompass the regulation of competition”

It is understood the Central Bank may be more open to new rules if the Dáil defines the actual cap on mortgage rates or clearly set out a methodology under which a cap could be deciphered.

A revised bill will also seek to clampdown on cash back offers which some banks use to attract first-time buyers on the grounds that such deals camouflage higher rates.

Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesman Michael McGrath confirmed to the Irish Independent that tackling mortgages is a key priority for the party in the year ahead.

Charlie Weston.

OECD raises possibility of ‘another property bubble’ as it warns of overheating in Irish economy

SIGNS of overheating have started to be seen in the Irish economy, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has warned – and Brexit remains the biggest risk.

In its latest biannual economic outlook, the Paris-based agency pointed out that new mortgage lending and loans to small businesses have risen sharply in recent months, as the property market remains buoyant despite high bank lending rates.

Limerick City Centre: Limerick city has little at entry level. Source:

Limerick city’s economic prospects continue to lift, driven by increased employment from multinationals like Uber and Regeneron as well as the creation of new jobs in a plethora of mid-sized home grown enterprises. Retail streets are brightening up again; new outlets, restaurants and nightclubs are opening.

Shannonside prices were tumbling just three years ago (down 10pc in the year to 2013) but after many years in the doldrums, the city’s market has experienced successive years of steady growth.

Looking to rent a place. Here are some tips for Limerick Tenants!

Tips for tenants hunting for rental property in Limerick.

Over the last couple of weeks, we have been asked by tenant’s in the Limerick property scene what’s the best way to apply for a house or an apartment. I have put together a couple of pointers which I hope will be of benefit to you.

When you attend a viewing:

  1. Bring a photocopy of:


Previous agency or landlord reference.

Any other reference you feel relevant.

(In the case of a previous landlord reference. “Do” ask your landlord to include a landline phone number and a home address if at all possible. Without these the reference sometimes may not appear quite verifiable.)

  1. Good idea to confirm the viewing beforehand with the landlord or agent who you are meeting. This will show you are an organised type of person.
  2. Dress neatly, with the shortage of property, it’s a good idea to treat the viewing similar to an interview.
  3. Bring with you a written list of questions. Again this will show you are organised.
  4. Now, “Going” the extra mile!

Another good tip is to take an hour or two of out of your day and phone a couple of Limerick Auctioneers and Estate Agents and arrange to call to their office with a scheduled appointment. Ask to speak with the lettings manager and arrange to meet them at their office for 10-15 minutes.

Here’s the important part! Bring with you the copies of your ID and references and have them in a folder(you can buy for about e1 in any stationary shop) and be able to tell the person what you are looking for and hand the folder to them at the end of your chat. Now, they not only have spoken to you on the phone but have met you in person and are able to put a “face to the name”. This is a very good way of getting a call back on properties coming up that have not even been advertised.

Credit Rating. Not many people are aware of this but it is possible to obtain a copy of your credit rating. It’s also very cost-effective, only e6. If you go to the Irish Credit Bureau(ISO Accredited) at you can apply for your own credit rating and it will then be posted out to you. If you are to include a copy of this with your references it will go a long way.


I hope these tips have been of help!

Irish House Price Report Q1 2018 |

Numbers from the most recent Daft sales report are not a huge surprise. Out of 54 markets looked at in the document, 53 of them rose. The only area to record a fall was Monaghan.

We are told the average house price in Limerick City is now €180,670, in Co. Limerick, it’s €173,256. On average, house prices are up 8.5% in the Limerick property sector.

So, in a nutshell, the market is on the rise in almost all of the country. The daft report informs us the annual rate of house prices was 7.3% in the first 3 months of the year. Believe it or not, this was the lowest rate of inflation in nearly 24 months.

See the report here

Friday 15 Dec. A busy day for this Limerick Auctioneer and Letting Agent!

This was a busy day, Friday’s are normally all go in Rowan Fitzgerald Limerick Auctioneers and Estate Agents but this one was exceptionally busy so I said I would write a bit about what was involved.

8am: Drop my two daughters to their grandparents to be looked after for the day then it was over to the North Circular Road to meet a property maintenance company I use to look at a new listing we are taking on for property management. There are a number of issues with the house as it has not been lived in for a while. Areas to be addressed are: Professional clean, appliances to be tested, boiler to be serviced, painting of a number of rooms, front and rear garden to be tidied up, exterior to be painted, gutters to be cleaned, chimney stack to be inspected as there appears to be a leak coming from it. I’ll wait for a price to come back from maintenance company and then discuss with the our new client.

Its then over to the Ballysimon road in Limerick to collect keys from an outgoing tenant who’s vacating a property we are letting in Clarina. Next(for 11am) on the list is to meet a landlord in the Askeaton area who has a house to be relisted. We let this home to a family about 7 years ago and they have just moved out. I’m meeting the owner to take a look at the place and discuss whats required to get it turned around and put back on the Limerick letting market. The property is in quite good condition which is great and there’s not much to be done. The landlord is pretty confident it will be ready to go again in early January. Its a good size house, 4 bedrooms, 2 ensuite, 2 living rooms, large kitchen, oil heating. Its located in a area, it should be of interest to local tenants when it comes available.

11.45am. Adare isn’t too far away and we have a new property there coming on which has just had its BER carried out so its ready to go. Its a nice day too so I drop in there to take photos as they’ll be much clearer compared to that of a dull day.

While in Adare I call in to check on another home we manage to see alls ok. There was also one or two scheduled jobs just finished on the house so I take the opportunity to see these have been done. The heating had been put on timer for short bursts during the night due to the frosty nights, now that that weather has passed for now I change the settings.

I take a call from a buyer who’d like to see a house at 8 Dympnas Terrace, Mulgrave St. The viewing is arranged for 1:15pm. On meeting the person they look at the house for 15 minutes, it’s a “fixer upper”, they are a tradesman and he makes quite a good offer on the property.

2pm. Its out to Clarina for a viewing on a very nice house we have there. The clients are surprised at both the size and the quality of the property.

My next appointment is not until 3pm and its not too far away so I have a chance to catch up on two or three calls and check email on my phone. I meet with John Loftus who runs a business networking group I’m involved in. This takes the bones of an hour for which it was scheduled.

4:30pm. A family who have rented an apartment from us are moving in this evening so I have to collect the key from the cleaning company beforehand. This is on the way which is handy as I am due to meet them at the property at 5pm in Johns Square. They arrive on time so we sit down to go through the tenancy agreement, take the inventory and photos. The electricity readings have to be taken so as we can transfer the account into the incoming tenants name. This all goes smoothly and takes about 45 minutes.

Just as I’m leaving this appointment I get a call from a Dublin solicitor, at 5:45pm this is not the norm but I am hoping its news that a sale in Castleconnell has closed and it is. I am instructed the sale is complete and we can release keys to the new first time buyer. I ask for them to send an email to this effect for our file which they do straight away and I call the buyer with the good news. We arrange for the key to be exchanged later that evening.

On getting back to the desk I record the offer on the property in Dympnas Terrace and check a valuation instruction platform we use and I see theres 3 instructions to be worked on for monday morning.

Super home to rent in Adare through these Limerick Auctioneers

7 Limetree Avenue in Adare is a great house in one of the most popular villages in Ireland. It has 5 great size bedrooms, master is ensuite, oil heating. There is a lovely open plan kitchen living area, there is also a separate sitting room, dining room, playroom/study. Even at e1600 per month this home is value for money in the Limerick property market.

Great house for sale at 28 Knocklyon Clonmacken

Super house for sale in Limerick at 28 Knocklyon, Clonmacken. This is a 3 story, 4 bed home and there are 2 ensuites. The property has gas heating and a great energy rating at B3. There are amenities close by such as the Jetland Shopping Center, Woodies DIY and access to the M7 is easy.

The property is in good condition and there is parking for two cars to the front of the property. There is an enclosed yard to the rear.

Call Rowan Fitzgerald on 061 279423 to arrange a viewing.

28 Knocklyon Bedroom

Budget 2018 main points: everything you need to know

Housing and property:

*The Government is allocating more than €1.8 billion for housing next year with the Minister saying some 3,800 new social houses would be built in 2018 by the local authorities and approved housing bodies.

* Mr Donohoe said there would be an additional €149million for the Housing Assistance Payment, which would enable an additional 17,000 households to be supported and accommodated next year, and a €116 million spend on homelessness, up by €18 million on this year.

*The Minister said he was providing a further €500 million for direct building which he hoped would lead to an additional 3,000 new build social houses by 2021 in addition to the existing 47,000 target.

*A new agency, Home Building Finance Ireland, is being created to use Nama’s experience and provide cheap loans to developers. It will be funded by monies from the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) to the value of €750 million.

*Mr Donohoe said the stamp duty on non-residential property was lowered to 2 per cent to stimulate the market and “it worked” and now it is being increased to 6 per cent from midnight tonight.

He said this was still well below maximum rate of 9 per cent charged between 2002 and 2008. A stamp duty refund scheme will be available to house builders subject to certain conditions.

*The controversial help to buy scheme of grants for first time buyers, which offers an income tax refund of up to €20,000 for buyers of newly built homes, is being retained.