Thursday, 31 July 2008

Ireland Property Bubble - House Price Bubble Has Burst - Daft Property Ireland

Property prices fall further as Dublin second-hand homes drop by 10.4%...

THE AVERAGE cost of a new house was just over 3 per cent lower in the first three months of this year than in the same period last year, according to new figures from the Department of the Environment.

Prices of second-hand houses suffered a sharper fall of 5.4 per cent, but the greatest decline was in the price of second-hand houses in Dublin which were 10.4 per cent lower in the first quarter of the year than in the same period of 2007.

The price of new houses in the capital fell by 4.8 per cent...

The department's housing statistics show a steady increase in the provision of social and affordable housing, but very steep declines in the total numbers of houses built and started in the first three months of the year.

Just over 14,000 houses were completed, a decline of 30 per cent on the first quarter of 2007. The number of houses on which construction began was even more dramatically reduced. There were just 7,713 residential commencements fewer than half the number on which construction began in the first quarter of 2007.

A substantially lower number of mortgages taken out on houses corresponds to the reduction in house completions. Banks and building societies approved 15,358 loans in the first quarter, a reduction of 37.6 per cent. The total value of these loans was €4,418.8 million, a 31.5 per cent drop on the first quarter of 2007.

While residential construction has slowed substantially since early 2007, the social and affordable sector underwent something of a boom in the first few months of this year. A total of 976 affordable housing units were provided through all affordable housing schemes in the first quarter of 2008, double last year's first-quarter figure.

The breakdown of these numbers shows that just 135 of these houses were built on State or local authority lands and 87 were provided through the Affordable Homes Partnership. The remaining units were provided through the Part V scheme.

This scheme requires developers to allocate 20 per cent of units in estates or apartment complexes for social and affordable housing. Local authorities can accept cash from builders in lieu of these houses, however the Department of the Environment has for a number of years said that it would prefer local authorities to take houses or land rather than money.

Dublin City Council has already adopted a policy of not taking developers' money in lieu of houses, and this policy appears to be filtering through to other local authorities. While the number of new houses finished was significantly lower than in the first three months of 2007, the number of Part V homes provided was up 73 per cent.

Just 24 people bought houses in the first quarter of 2008 through the Shared Ownership Scheme, whereby those on low incomes can buy a house through paying a reduced mortgage and rent to their local authority.

2008: first quarter

New house prices

Average price:
National €311,113;
Dublin €397,696;
National -3.1 per cent lower than the same period in 2007;
Dublin -4.8 per cent.

Second-hand prices

Average price:
National €359,277;
Dublin €462,475;
National -5.4 per cent;
Dublin -10.4 per cent.

It's a house price bubble that has burst. But there's still room for a lot more price reductions before we will see anything we can call a "bargain."

Ireland Recession - Record Breaking Unemployment - Boom To Bust In 2008!

The end of July reports show...Number signing on Live Register rises by 10,600

The rise in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits over the last year has increased at the fastest rate since records began over 40 years ago.
In July, 10,600 people joined the Live Register bringing the seasonally adjusted total signing on to 226,000, on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office this morning.

The monthly increase is the second highest on record after March of this year. The number on the register is the highest in a decade.

Last month’s increase lifted the standardised unemployment rate to 5.9 per cent, the CSO said.

Over the last 12 months the number of people seeking unemployment benefits has risen by over a third with 63,647 people joining the register.

In July 6,700 males and 3,800 females joined the register.

Leo Varadkar, Fine Gael enterprise spokesman accused the Government of losing control of a deteriorating economic situation.

He said Ireland’s standard unemployment rate of 5.9 per cent was now far higher than the US at 5.5 per cent; Britain at 5.25 per cent or Japan’s 4 per cent.

For this reason he said “Ireland’s unemployment rate cannot be blamed on the global economic situation”, he said.

“While most western nations are standing out in the cold, Ireland is the only one without a jacket. This is a direct result of Brian Cowen’s mismanagement of the economy over the past five years,” Mr Varadkar said.

Alan McQuaid, senior economist with Bloxhams said although the unadjusted monthly rise of 17,429 in July was lower than the 19,000 increase in June, it was still higher than expectations.

“The slowdown in construction activity and the weakening manufacturing sector are becoming more pronounced in the data and the likelihood is that things will get worse before they get better,” he said.

Mr McQuaid noted that the data only covered the month up to July 25th and may fail to capture the number of construction lay-offs in the days before the August Bank Holiday.

“This may be picked up in the August data and so we remain pessimistic about next month’s figures”, he said.

The Live Register is not strictly a measure of unemployment as it includes part-time workers, seasonal and casual workers who are entitled to jobseekers benefit or allowance. However, it is a useful indicator of short-term changes in the numbers out of work.

Although the figures are for the month of July, they cover the period up to the last Friday of the month. Media interest in the figures means they were being released earlier than normal. Usually CSO data is released on the 1st day of the following month.
That report was by DAVID LABANYI -

Jobless costing State €690m more as extra 10,000 join dole...
A MASSIVE €690m hole has been blown in the Government's finances after it emerged that over 63,000 more people had signed on the Live Register by last month than had done so by the same time last year.
The standardised unemployment rate is also on the rise, now standing at 5.9pc, with economists predicting it will climb to 7.5pc by the end of next year.

More than 238,000 signed on the live register this month, an increase of over 17,000 on June and 63,000 more than this time last year -- a jump of 36.5pc.

When adjusted for seasonal factors, the figures make just as grim reading: 226,000 signed on -- 10,000 more than last month and 63,600 higher than last year...
ISME, which represents small and medium-sized companies, said it was alarmed at the rapid rise in the "bleak" live register figures...Its chief executive, Mark Fielding, said the figures were "frightening" and that the labour market was in "freefall".

Fine Gael accused the Government of losing control of the deteriorating economic situation.
Report Fergus Black Irish Independent
How can Ireland have gone from the Celtic Tiger to this mess???

Sunday, 27 July 2008

The Million Euro Man in Liffey! Who's Taking The Piss????

The Million Euro Man...We can rebuild him...

Great to see Irish taxpayers money being spent on essential Dublin city projects!

Why not pretend it's still "Celtic Tiger" time and just forget about Ireland's current recession, property crash, 3rd world conditions of public hospitals, spiralling cost of surviving and the debt the country is in etc etc!...

Dublin says yes to giant sculpture in the Liffey...

On the Sunday Times...

"Dublin city council has granted planning permission for Antony Gormley’s 48-metre statue in the River Liffey.

Objectors to the Iron Man wire sculpture had included a group of 96 nearby residents who said it would tower over their houses on the quays. There is a four-week deadline for objections to be submitted to An Bord Pleanala.

There were fears that the statue would become a roost for birds and be coated with droppings. One of the conditions set down by the council is that the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA), which commissioned the statue, must submit full details of its cleaning arrangements, including the name of the company given the contract to wash it and what times it will do its work.

The DDDA also has to lodge a security “to secure the satisfactory maintenance or/and dismantling and disposal of the structure if and where necessary”.

The authority has also been told that its workmen cannot do construction work on Sundays or public holidays and must finish at 6pm on weekdays and 2pm on Saturdays. The sculpture will take about eight months to erect and will cost €1.6m.

The DDDA said the conditions imposed by the council were “easily satisfiable”.
The authority could have located the statue, which is 80% the height of Liberty Hall, in an area where it needed no planning permission, but chose to site it at City Quay on the seaward side of the Sean O’Casey bridge, to allow for public input.

Gormley, the London-based designer best known for his Angel of the North statue near Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, modelled the sculpture on his own body."

And on Circa opinion from Archiseek:
"Public opinion against Gormley's "dub in the tub"...

Public opinion on the Irish architecture website,, is very much against the proposed Anthony Gormley statue for installation in the river Liffey. The sculpture, a figure rising 48m from the river Liffey, has been widely panned by architects and general public alike.

One described it as: "the idea of a sculpture like this should be to be bold and inspiring but this achieves neither, the artist seems to be trying to hide it by making it basically see-through despite its gargantuan size and its not inspiring as it looks like some guy shuffling into the corner afraid of being seen(taking a piss)!" [sic]

Another longterm member suggested "It probably wouldn't be as bad if didn't look like he was taking a piss. Maybe facing philsophically out towards the Irish Sea would be better". While another asked "is this the emptiness Archbishop Brady was talking about?"

"Gormley is not a great sculpture in the sense of a sculpture who is also a great craftsman... he is just another example of someone getting away with bad craft by calling it Art and making it large scale." calls on the DDDA to release details of the unsuccessful artwork in order to better appreciate the choice of Gormley as sculptor. Art needs public debate, and simply foisting an unpopular piece on Dublin, using public money, without some sort of public consultation is unteneable. We need to see the alternative schemes.

After the ongoing debacle of the U2 Tower competition, it is clear that the DDDA selection process for anything other than the banal, is flawed, and the other proposals should be published immediately to calm fears that Gormley was chosen simply for his name and artistic cachet."
So, we thought, why not take the Million Euro Man in Liffey a stage further and add a water feature...

...That's 1.6 million euro down the Liffey - Not to mention the ongoing "running" costs!

So who's taking the piss????

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Irish Property News - House Building Crash - Ireland Property News

House building crash helped spark sudden rise in jobless figures...

HOUSE building crashed after the Christmas holidays last year, new CSO figures show -- helping to explain the sudden rise in unemployment during 2008.

Output in house construction was at the lowest level since the current statistics began in 2000. It was also 20pc less than the previous low point eight years before. House building slumped more than l30pc on the previous quarter, as builders left sites closed after the New Year break. This left the volume of output down 38pc on the same period of 2007. The value of houses built was down 35pc, suggesting little change in prices over the 12 months.

Non-residential building was up almost 9pc compared with 2007, and the value of the buildings was 14pc greater. This gain left total construction down almost 22pc on the previous year.
But Rossa White, economist at Davy Research, said the figures seemed to be saying that non-house building was already slowing fast in 2007.

"That is sooner than we might have expected, given that it takes longer to build an office block than a housing estate," he said.

"We would still expect the brunt of that to be felt next year. Either way, the construction numbers are going to get worse."

Dermot O'Leary, chief economist atGoodbody Stockbrokers, said there was usually a two-year lag between a fall in house building and one in commercial building. "This is a shoe which has to drop," he said.

The figures show that Irish building was enduring the biggest slump in the EU during the first three months of the year. Only Hungary , with a 19pc fall, came close to Ireland's 22pc drop. Building in Spain, which also had a huge construction boom, was down 7pc in the period.

Construction booms were still going on in Romania and Slovenia, where output was up more than 30pc. Most of the eastern member state still had strong construction output, with most shopping gains of around 13pc.

Findland's 10.6pc growth was by far the highest in the pre-enlargement EU-15, while output grew 2.2pc in Britian.

Brendan Keenan - Irish Independent

Friday, 25 July 2008

Ireland 2008 Recession, Recycling Knickers & Wartime Nostalgia...

Changing times for "21st-century Ireland, where people are looking for ways to reduce both their spending and their negative impact on the environment"...

Recycling the good old days...


'Knickers renewed - one good pair from two old pairs; here's how to manage it," begins one snappy article from a collection of pamphlets originally published by the British government during the second World War and which have recently appeared in book form.

The trick, apparently, is to cut a new gusset from the back of one pair and neatly sew it into place on the other pair and off you go, good as new.

Make Do and Mend contains dozens of original facsimile leaflets offering hundreds of tips on how to make everything from carpets and gloves to saucepans and blinds last a whole lot longer.

There are details on how to darn deftly and instructions on how best to convert a tired pair of men's pyjamas into a reinvigorated summer frock for your daughter (although there are no instructions on how to make said daughter like or wear said frock).

The book shows readers how to make a pair of socks last a lot longer than they should and, if you fancy making a pair of slippers from scratch using only macramé twine and rags, then this is the book for you, although you might first have to find out what macramé twine is.

A second collection, stirringly titled Eating For Victory , was published alongside Made Do and Mend . It contains hundreds of low-cost recipes including mock fried egg, semolina porridge and a worrying amount of suet-based treats. It is filled with tips on making perishable food last longer - although, in truth, many of the tips seem to involve baking the daylights out of stale bread and optimistically renaming the end product Fairy Toast or Wheatmealies in the hope of passing it off as a tasty biscuit.

NOSTALGIA HAS BEEN one of the big trends in publishing in recent years, with books such as the Dangerous Book for Boys flying off the shelves. According to Anna Sampson, who handles the publicity for the wartime pamphlets, they have proved to be "incredibly popular" since they were published last autumn. The first print run sold out in less than three weeks and close to 50,000 copies of Eating For Victory and Make Do and Mend have now been sold.

"It wasn't just about the nostalgia," she says, "we did feel that there was an eco-angle to these books. Like many people, I feel incredibly guilty about how much I end up throwing out and these books really hammer home the ethic of recycling." She stresses that it is "not a guide book" and while the publishers "haven't modernised it at all, there will still be tips that resonate today".

Both books are a striking illustration of how far we have travelled as consumers in the last 60 years and how much we take our staggering levels of consumption for granted. Despite some of the more austere and outlandish ideas, there are elements of the books which could be brought back to 21st-century Ireland, where people are looking for ways to reduce both their spending and their negative impact on the environment.

Eating for Victory has proved to be the more popular of the books and, despite all the suet, lard and pilchards between the covers, it provides a snapshot of Britain at its healthiest. The comparative health of Britain at war hasn't been lost on some very high-profile opinion-formers, and nostalgia for old-school cooking is likely to come even more to the fore later this year when Jamie Oliver returns to our screens with a new series and a cookbook inspired by the Ministry of Food.

Set up during the war to help families make the most of rations, the ministry's network of food centres hosted cookery demonstrations and handed out recipes and tips on how to best use scarce ingredients. It was credited with keeping Britain fighting and resulted in the public having one of the healthiest diets at any time in its history.

Skip three generations and people living in much of the developed world have turned into unhealthy wasters. When our clothes fray around the edges we don't get out our darning needle - we leave them to rot in cupboards or just chuck them in the bin. And when holes appear in our woollies we are more likely to watch them unravel than darn them - even if we wanted to darn them, how many of us would know where to start?

It is, however, food which we waste more than anything else and while we moan - with just cause - about spiralling food prices, we also throw tonnes of it away. The amount of good food dumped by people because it looks a little tired or has come too close to its best-by date prompted British prime minister Gordon Brown to declare a "war on waste" at the G8 summit earlier this month. Launching an initiative aimed at encouraging households to reduce their food waste, Brown claimed "unnecessary" purchases were in part responsible for recent food price rises. He cautioned families to store fruit and vegetables carefully in order to prolong their shelf-life and called on people to plan their meals better so that less food ends up in the bin.

While there are no reliable statistics on food waste in Ireland, the figures from the UK are illuminating. According to the British Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the UK wastes an estimated €25.2 billion worth of food every year. Research published by the British Cabinet Office earlier this month recorded families throwing away 4.1 million tonnes of good food annually at a cost of around €528 per household. The UK retail sector dumps a similarly sized food mountain each year.

To put those numbers into perspective, that is 4 million apples, 1.6 million bananas, 6,000 chickens, 300,000 bags of crisps and 440,000 ready meals - and a whole lot more - going in British bins every single day. The writers of those wartime pamphlets are no doubt turning in their graves.

Report from the Irish Times Newspaper.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

It's Gas...Apartments Not Selling In Dublin City...Gasworks!

The 210 apartments in the nine-storey Gasworks building, in Ringsend near Landstown - Dublin 4, have been vacant since they went on sale two years ago.

Developer Liam Carroll has since got the OK to convert the Gasworks apartments into a 520-bed hotel.

However local residents are saying "no" to the plans and have appealed the proposal. Their main concern seems to be they will have to pay for the upkeep of common areas - hotel guests will not etc.
The original promotion of the apartments, 2 years ago, by Hooke & Mac Donald mentioned:
...One of the most interesting and significant residential projects ever to be carried out in Dublin was launched on the market...

A familiar feature of the South Dublin skylinehas been transformed.

The striking metal cylinder of the former gasholder at Barrow Street creates a frame within which a stunning new nine storey block of large two bedroom apartments has been built.

The curves of the building complemented by its dramatic glass façade, bring an historic site into the future with contemporary, groundbreaking design.

This cylindrical structure is the focal point of The Gasworks,an innovative residential development built around beautifully landscaped gardens in one of the city’s most desirable locations, adjacent to all the amenities of Ballsbridge and the South City.

Along with its impressive design, The Gasworks represents a total lifestyle change for residents who want tobe part of everything the city has to offer, but who like to find tranquillity in an urban setting – a superb opportunity for owner-occupiers and investors alike.
Well that was the theory anyhow!..There was no interest by buyers.
But what a unique building - I think it will make an excellent hotel!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Magic In 2008?...Irish Jobs Vanish - Irish Emigration Returns...

Towns feel pain as jobs vanish...

Ireland's towns, once noisy with the sounds of construction, are ominously quiet, as people get to grips with a new reality and the prospect of emigration, writes Ronan McGreevy .

A WEEK AFTER Leitrim were knocked out of the Connacht championship by Galway, the county captain, Gary McCloskey, emigrated to London.

McCloskey, who was Leitrim player of the year in 2007, had been out of work for five weeks, having been made redundant by Shine Construction, based in Athlone.

Shine, which had been involved in several projects in the midlands including the development of Athlone town's new stadium, blamed the downturn in the building sector for its closure in May. The firm had debts of €3.5 million and assets of just €990,000. Twenty others lost their jobs.

"I had no work for five weeks," says McCloskey, a Trinity College graduate in civil engineering. "It came to a crunch and that's it - hop on a plane to London. It was easy, given the circumstances - money going out, nothing coming in. I did three interviews and there was nothing happening really. There were so many lads going for the same jobs.

"The lads from the County Board were looking out for things, but I knew myself it wouldn't be easy finding a job trying to sort me out, even with connections."

McCloskey has since been joined by his brother Mark, a bricklayer. "He was getting a few weeks here and there and getting laid off and he just said he had enough. He wanted full-time employment." The County Board has since found Gary McCloskey a job, but it was not what he wanted. He had already signed a contact with a construction firm in the UK and has transferred GAA clubs.

"I'll stick it out here for a while. I'll keep looking out for something at home but, from now until next spring, there won't be much happening," he says.

"You could see it happening just after the Christmas with a lot of lads coming down on the site looking for work. It's a nationwide problem. I'd say with the builders' holidays coming up, you'll find a lot more fellows heading to London."

The emigration of a county footballer is a stark reminder of how things have changed with a suddenness which has left many wondering if we are returning to the bad days of mass emigration and unemployment. Officially, standardised unemployment, according to the Central Statistics Office, is 5.7 per cent. That figure is based on the Quarterly National Household Survey, where individuals are asked about their employment status. The last one was carried out at the end of February. It is then adjusted to take account of seasonal factors and the rise in the Live Register.

The number on the Live Register was 220,811 in June, up 54,448 on June 2007, an increase of nearly a third. Strictly speaking, the Live Register does not measure unemployment because it includes those who are part-time or casual. However, it does include all those who want to work full-time but cannot.

SIPTU BELIEVES THE official unemployment rate underestimates the extent of the problem. A more accurate representation, it believes, is to count those who are signing on now as a percentage of the overall labour force. According to those figures, 13.5 per cent of the workforce in the border counties of Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan, Louth, Sligo and Leitrim are signing on, while more than one in eight workers in the midlands counties of Laois, Offaly, Westmeath and Longford (12.66 per cent) and the south-east counties of Carlow, Wexford, Waterford, Kilkenny, Tipperary North Riding and Carlow (12.65 per cent) are also on the Live Register.

The nationwide picture suggests that 9 per cent of the workforce is currently signing on, with only Dublin, the south-west (Cork and Kerry) and the mid-east (Kildare, Meath and Wicklow) at or below the national average. Even in the commuter counties there is a significant problem, according to Labour TD and chairman of the Oireachtas committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Willie Penrose. Over the last fortnight, the committee's members have been visiting Dublin commuter towns. These were the engine of the Celtic Tiger, the homes of a new generation of prosperous commuters, and of those pushed out of Dublin by high house prices. It is also the spiritual home of Breakfast Roll Man, whizzing up and down the M7 from one construction job to another.

Several of the towns visited report double digit percentage figures for those on the Live Register. The problem is worst in Drogheda, a town with traditionally high levels of unemployment, where the number on the live register reached exactly 4,000 last month or an estimated 22 per cent of the workforce. The committe heard that the equivalent figure for Athy was 16 per cent, for Carlow 15 per cent and for Navan 10 per cent.

In the prosperous seaside town of Balbriggan there are more people on the live register (1,923) than there are in Ballymun (1,721), representing between 12 and 16 per cent of the workforce, although the figures there may be skewed by the amount of social and affordable housing that has been built in recent years.

"It was hair-raising, a great shock, to see these figures in context after a period of unprecedented growth in the economy," says Penrose. "We were taken aback by the level of recorded unemployment."

The new Mayor of Drogheda, Cllr Frank Maher, said the recent loss of 250 Coca-Cola jobs at its concentrate factory in the town is only part of the story.

"The unspoken problem, and the one that does not register on the radar, is the number of small- to medium-size businesses that are laying people off in small numbers but are contributing to the larger figure," he says. "A lot of small businesses are under severe pressure, from IT across to the services sector. Costs are increasing, shops and supermarkets are all tightening. Shops are not taking on seasonal workers. At the moment they are contracting - anybody who wants to go is being let go."

The problem is as bad if not worse in other parts of the country. In Roscommon, Castlerea councillor Luke Flanagan says the housing tax incentives have fuelled a construction boom in many towns in the midlands and the west of Ireland which has left a legacy of locals priced out of the market, empty houses, panicking investors who cannot find tenants and a goldrush cycle of boom and bust.

"My father has just retired as a carpenter and my brother as a blocklayer and they have thrived to a certain extent on the boom, but now that it is gone, it is not worth a damn to any of us," he says. "It was the most predictable thing at the end of the day. Building houses is not really an industry. As my father says to me, you can't export those houses to China and make money out of them.

"All you have to do is go to a pub-cafe in the town called Carthy's. If you went there up to a year ago, the place was packed out with breakfast roll men. That place ain't packed out anymore."
IN TRUE WEST-OF-IRELAND fashion, many local tradesmen have emigrated, says Flanagan. Some have gone to the UK, others to the US and Australia.

"Our unemployment rate has gone from 500 to more than 900 in the last year-and-a-half. Anecdotally, that figure would have gone up higher if people had not left," he says.
The economic downturn is rotten luck for school-leavers, who have no memory of how bad things once were in Ireland and have grown up in a time of plenty. The number of apprenticeships so far this year is half of what it was in 2006.

"These things happen from time to time. I'd like not to be totally pessimistic for young people," says Tony Power, director of apprenticeships at Fás. "We've got to ensure those who are in the apprenticeship programme can finish their training and get qualified. I wouldn't like to give the impression that we are preparing people for emigration.

"Some people will, by choice, maybe take that option and we have to facilitate them as best we can. There is mobility of labour and mobility of apprenticeship and people make different choices."

The problem is not confined to the regions. Though Dublin, because of its diversified economy, has escaped the worst to date, there are significant problems in the construction industry. Last month, electrical contractor Elenco, based in Santry, closed its doors with the loss of 140 employees, leaving dozens of electricians on the dole queue. Elenco was founded in 1971 and survived the slump of the 1980s, but could not survive changes to Government tendering for projects such as schools and hospitals, along with a chronic cash flow problem.

"Basically, big builders are not paying out because they are not selling," says Tim (31), an electrician who has worked with Elenco since leaving school and did not want to give his full name. "The company was chasing money for months but it was never enough. I can't see any of us getting full-time work anytime soon. Builders are cutting back. They don't have enough work for the staff they have. For the time being at least, we're snookered."

Willie Penrose believes the current economic slump is a direct result of the folly of depending on an industry as transient as construction. "It will be the SMEs (small and medium enterprises) that will get us out of this mess," he says.

The committee found many disparate problems in the towns it visited, but one theme was clear: there was not enough support for start-up businesses, and the County Enterprise Boards (CEBs) are so chronically under-funded that many have run out of funds already this year.

"There is significant scope to increase the funding of the County Enterprise Boards. These fund start-up enterprises with 10 employees or less and they are what I'd call acorn businesses. There is nothing Flash Harry about them," Penrose says. "Anywhere we have gone, there are people trying to start these type of businesses up and they are not getting the support they need. Regulations are seen as a major impediment or inhibiting factor."

OTHER FACTORS LIKELY to be identified as critical when the committee reports in October are the need for a skills analysis in individual towns to match up skilled workers with prospective employers, and better co-ordination between all the state agencies involved in employment generation - the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, County Enterprise boards and local authorities.
"It has come across to us that local authorities are significant engines of growth because of the land banks they are sitting on," Penrose explains.

The scale of redundancies is putting serious pressure on Fás. In the midlands region, which consists of counties Laois, Offaly, Westmeath, Kildare and Longford, the number of redundancies among firms notified to the agency has risen dramatically from 34 two years ago to 821 already this year.

Fás midlands director Róisín Doherty says there has been a step change in the perception of what it means to be made redundant among the unemployed and in society in general from the 1980s. Crucially, employees are treating redundancy as a new beginning, not a finall end.
"People are saying to us, 'just give me another job'. We undertook a retraining programme with people who lost their jobs in Athlone and could not get something in their chosen field," says Doherty. "There is very much an attitude of let's get me computers, let's get me retraining as opposed to having to drag people to get them motivated.

"We said to them, 'Look, while you are waiting on your ideal job, why don't you retrain in those areas. Why not, if you are a forklift driver, upskill in that area and become certified?' If people aren't progressing or are not being retrained, they will be sitting at home. The big thing for people is that they used to be out there earning a guaranteed salary and they don't have that now. That's why we are saying to people that they should come in and do a course in any case."
Tom Parlon, director-general of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), acknowledges there are problems in the housebuilding sector, but says there are major projects such as Lansdowne Road, the new Mater Hospital, the Corrib Gas Refinery and the National Concert Hall which will take up some of the slack.

He says the construction boom was unsustainable and so were the wages being paid to staff. The CIF are looking for the entry level wage to be cut from €14.88 an hour, which represents 80 per cent of the skilled rate, to a figure closer to 60 per cent.

"The big issue is that it is beginning to dawn on people that construction spreads so wide," says Parlon. "People were cynical that developers were doing very well, but on the other hand they were generating massive employment. Houses became too expensive, but so too did costs. The pay rates in construction were out of all proportion with anything else."

Flanagan believes that the absence of long-term industry in towns such as Castlerea means that a return to mass emigration and depopulation cannot be ruled out, now that the construction boom is over.

"In business there are makers, takers and fakers," he says. "Can anyone point out to me new bit of business in the area that was not here in the 1980s, the businesses that generate the wealth and pay the wages? Only a naive fool would rule out a return to the bad old days."

Report by RONAN McGREEVY for Irish Times Newspaper

Friday, 18 July 2008

Ireland Gets Cheap As Celtic Tiger & Habitat Vanish!!!

Sign of times as Lidl eyes Habitat store...

Upmarket furniture store Habitat could be replaced in the city centre by a discount supermarket.

German retail giant Lidl is one of only two businesses -- the other an overseas bank -- pitching for the lease of the massive store, located off the bottom of Grafton Street on College Green.


Lidl and fellow discount chain Aldi have seen a significant increase in business since the effects of the credit crunch.

They have also been helped by a recent National Consumer Agency survey. The research found that a basket of 28 own-brand goods was more than 50pc cheaper in Lidl than in Tesco or Dunnes Stores.

Several leases available on Grafton Street have been slow to sell because of the deterioration in consumer spending.

Property adviser CB Richard Ellis has predicted that business premises on the high street will only sell when values have been cut by 50pc.

Lidl is not the only big-name trader to have checked out the former Habitat store.
Nearby trader Avoca did so as did US clothing giant Abercrombie.

The latter said they would not open a store anywhere near Grafton Street because of its poor image and unattractive mix of shops.

Report by Cormac Murphy - Evening Herald

Irish Property Crash 2008 - Ireland's Property Market To Tumble Even Further...

Homeowners left reeling as 30pc price fall predicted...

HOME owners are reeling from a double-whammy of bad news, after both an international broker and one of Ireland's leading economists warned house prices could plummet even further over the coming months.

In a statement announcing the predictions, international broker Credit Suisse said that Ireland's property market is continuing to tumble, with house prices potentially falling by another 30pc over the coming months.

The internationally-respected firm has made the comments because it says the market is only reacting to the credit crunch now.

The upshot is that the impact of the credit crunch has yet to filter through to the Irish housing market, with any weakness already experienced down to a drop in demand rather than tighter credit.

"As a result, we see mortgage affordability decreasing and house price declines accelerating. What is more, the housing market has been underpinned by strong immigration and rental demand, but it now seems likely that immigration trends will reverse and landlords may start to sell," the international broker warned.

As a result of the situation, Credit Suisse says that house prices could now be slashed by a third or more, a claim the broker says is supported by the International Monetary Fund.

"Housing completions are running at an annualised 50,000-55,000 units, but we think a further slowdown in the housing market could trigger a more pronounced contraction in the residential construction industry," it said.

For the banks, the broker said that such a fall in house prices would result in a big jump in arrears, which could rise fourfold, leading to a substantial 40pc increase in "mortgage impairment" or bad debts.


The dire forecast is contained in a review of the outlook for the big banks, with the negative reaction plainly visible in the 6pc fall endured on the market by Bank of Ireland and AIB.
And it comes on the back of yesterday's comments by leading Irish economist Jim Power that homeowners could see up to €140,000 wiped off the value of their properties -- with prices expected to fall 45pc from their peak.

Jim Power, chief economist with financial services firm Friends First, said house prices are already down about 25pc from their February 2007 peak.

Report by Caroline Crawford at

Thursday, 17 July 2008

U2, UFO's & Vertigo Live At Clarence Hotel Dublin!

Plan to redevelop Clarence Hotel approved...

An ambitious plan to redevelop the Clarence Hotel on Dublin’s Wellington Quay has been approved by An Bord Pleanála.

The scheme, devised by architect Norman Fosteer, involves demolishing the hotel and adjoining buildings on the quay, retaining their façades and constructing a much larger hotel arranged around a dramatic atrium and topped by a flying saucer-style roof.

The owners of the hotel, who include U2's Bono and the Edge, welcomed the Bord’s decision in a statement this afternoon.

“We are delighted that An Bord Pleanala has given us the green light for Norman Foster's design for The Clarence. …We believe it's great news for Dublin and for Temple Bar in particular, where we've been working for over 20 years and where a hotel has been trading on The Clarence site for 177 years," it said.

The Department of the Environment, Local Government and Heritage had objected to the scheme, saying it could set a precedent for demolishing protected buildings in other areas of the city.

While existing legislation allows for the demolition of protected structures in exceptional circumstances, the Department argued that the scheme was not of such architectural merit as to meet the exceptional circumstances stipulation laid down by the legislation.


Should be great!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Daft Punk!...Just Clowen' Around!!!

..."Does Brian Cowen really know what he is doing?

...The Lisbon Treaty defeat was a fiasco for the government. Not that it matters even a tiny bit in the real world, but in the world of political perceptions and of the neurotic EU, it means everything and Cowen did not have the stature - yet - to tell the EU to cop on.

...Cowen seems to have been unnerved by the Lisbon defeat. He has seemed unsure, vacillating and unsettled since then. His performances over the last few days have been his worst, aided and abetted by Lenihan.

...The announced cuts in public expenditure are risible. Given the constraints that the prevailing hegemony has imposed on our political culture, tax increases of any sort are out of the question. There is no question that the people who made fortunes during the boom years should now bear the burden of a few bad years. Also no question about borrowing, beyond the constraints imposed by the EU.

...So the only way to deal with a sharp fall in tax revenues is to cut spending, and the cuts required next year will be several billion. This is not that much out of a total spend of around €60 billion, but the room for manoeuvre is being blocked by the elephant in the counting room: public sector pay. There is no option but to cut back on healthcare, education and affordable housing.

They fudged all the big decisions for now. Not a single tough choice: deferring decentralisation (what courage that took); projecting a saving of €30 million on social welfare fraud (how did they ever think of that one?); a ban on public sector recruitment (I thought Charlie McCreevy introduced that four years ago?); opting out of a scheme to help old people (splendid!); cutting back on overseas development aid (too bad about the poor of the Third World, but they will be comforted that this is being done under the guise of readjusting the figures because of lower GNP projections); and deferring a few capital projects. Pathetic.

And where will that leave us at budget time in December? Either there will indeed be ‘‘savage’’ cuts: social welfare increases just matching inflation, if that; cutbacks in health, with a pretence that these will not affect patients; cutbacks in education and, sure, nobody cares; the Metro deferred or maybe abandoned (this would be no bad thing); and several other capital projects deferred (so much for the talk of protecting the National Development Plan).

...Suddenly and rapidly, Cowen seems far less formidable than he did ten weeks ago. Out of his depth, some might argue. The transition to the top job appears to have been too quick and too bruising"...

Vincent Browne - the Sunday Buisness Post.

on Dramatic Property Price Drops in Ireland

"Asking prices on down 8% in past 12 months...

The asking prices for houses advertised on have fallen back to the same levels as May 2006, according to the latest figures from the property website.

Average asking prices are down almost 8% over the past 12 months, with the sharpest falls recorded in Monaghan, Sligo, Offaly, Louth and Cavan. says it expects prices to fall even further as there is an oversupply of houses in certain areas of the country.

However, it says many people, particularly in south Co Dublin, are still posting unrealistic house prices."

... Report from the Belfast Telegraph.

So Who's To Blame????

Post "poperty boom", Ireland is now in "property crash" phase, and the country's finances are in dire straits.

But it's not just Ireland going through bad times - there's a lot of turmoil elsewhere like in the who's to blame there????

"Spicing up the blame game with some new contenders...

Now the Dow Jones Indust­rial Average has dip­ped into bear-market terri­tory, it's time to address an important matter: We need new people to blame. The latest trio of popular villains is so unoriginal. Short sellers? Oil speculat­ors? Accounting rulemakers?

Surely we can do better.

After careful study, and some occasional attention to factual detail, I propose a new set of people and things to blame for the market meltdown, around which we all can rally in the shared cause of finger-pointing, schädenfreude, and the illusion of accountability.

The sole criterion to join my list of Seven Deadly Sinners: they all had to be just as much to blame as short sellers, oil speculators or the Financial Accounting Standards Board. The inductees are:

1 Leona Helmsley
Or, more precisely, Leona Helmsley's dogs. As the New York Times reported on 2 July, the hotel and real- estate magnate, who died last year, instructed that her entire charitable trust, with an estimated value of $5bn to $8bn, be used for the care and welfare of dogs.
Consider the human (and Wall Street) suffering that kind of cash could have been used to alleviate. That's enough money to pay off the outstanding liens on all the foreclosed properties in Los Angeles, providing thous­ands of cute puppies with affordable housing to boot.
For $8bn, her trust could have bought Bear Stearns Cos three times over (with a little help from the Federal Reserve). Or at current prices, it could buy the homebuilders DR Horton Inc, Lennar Corp, Centex Corp and KB Home – yes, all four. And it still would have a few hundred million left to put a can of "filet mignon flavour'' Alpo in every bowl. Best of all, the fact Helmsley is dead means she's virtually libel-proof.

2 Securities lenders
You see, short sellers don't kill companies; borrowed shares kill companies. Some of the biggest securities lenders – Bear Stearns was one – are the same companies that are to blame for the subprime-mortgage debacle.

The way short selling works is you sell a stock you have borrowed from some­one else, in hopes of buying it back later at a lower price and pocketing the differ­ence as profit. All we have to do is keep these stocks out of the hands of investors who don't own them, and our problems will be solved.

The obvious solution, then, is to make it illegal for folks to lend anything they own, of any kind, to anyone else, ever. No exceptions. As with the war on drugs, reducing demand isn't important. What matters is that we eliminate the supply.

3 The weather
It's so easy to blame, compan­ies do it all the time. Last year, when the retail farm-store chain Tractor Supply said its second-quarter earnings had fallen a few pennies short of analysts' estimates, it blamed "unseasonably cool weather in April". Now there's leadership for you.
If one company can blame the weather for its problems, everyone can blame the weather for all the market's problems.

4 Paul Steiger
Fine man, and full disclos­ure: I used to work for him, back when he was manag­ing editor of the Wall Street Journal and I was a report­er there. That said, it's time he got his comeuppance.
One of the little-known perks of being the Journal's top editor is the power to change the component companies of the Dow Jones Industrial Average on a moment's notice. And in April 2004, Steiger added a doozy: American Inter­national Group. Since then, AIG's stock has lost about two-thirds of its value, which the famously clairvoyant Steiger clearly should have seen coming. So just think how things might be different today if he'd added, say, Mexco Energy instead.

Sure, this little oil comp­any from Texas has only a $43m market capitalisation, which should disqualify it from consider­ation, tech­nic­ally speaking. Just look at those returns, though! The thing is up 212% since AIG got added, and it has gained 515% so far this year.

If only Steiger had juiced the index with the right stocks when he had the chance, and dropped dying geezers like General Motors, we still might be in a raging bull market today.

5 Britney Spears
No particular reason.

6 Alan Greenspan.
Wait, scratch that – he doesn't belong on this list. The housing bubble and resulting credit meltdown really are his fault. So we still need two more.

Six and seven. Take your pick: parents, god, society, Willie Randolph, Fidel Castro, the mafia, the CIA, Charles Darwin, the internet, trolls, Ed McMahon. Whatever you do, though, don't blame me. I'm just calling them like I see them."

Article from the by Jonathan Weil,a Bloomberg News columnist.

Northern Ireland Property Crash In Full Swing...

In today's Sunday Buisness Post, Post David Cullen in Belfast reports, on the Property scene in Northern Ireland...

"North facing property crisis as house values take a hammering...

The deepening crisis in the North’s residential property market is highlighted by figures showing a near 19 per cent slump in values in the year to the end of June.

The survey, by Nationwide building society, also showed that prices had dropped by 9 per cent in the second quarter of this year - the steepest correction in property values recorded across Britain and the North.

The downturn comes on the back of an unusually sharp jump during 2006 and 2007, when prices grew by almost 80 per cent.

‘‘These increases were clearly not sustainable and left the market particularly vulnerable to external shocks, such as the financial downturn that began last August,” said Fionnuala Earley, chief economist of Nationwide. ‘‘We are now seeing the consequences of that excess vulnerability.”

The average price of a house in the North now stands at around £183,000 (€230,000) against around £215,000 (€270,000) a year ago.

Ulster Bank’s North economist, Richard Ramsey, said the rapid gains in house prices were unsustainable and that the subsequent correction had been accelerated by the credit crunch.

‘‘House prices appear to be returning back towards pre-boom levels, with a number of estate agents confirming that they are now valuing houses at 2006 prices,” he said.

‘‘While this represents a significant drop of over 25 per cent on last year’s peak, these falls must be put in context. The latest figures remain some 50 per cent above the level of two years ago and have more than doubled over the last five years.”

Property experts said that the North’s housing boom had been largely investor-driven and that this had helped to squeeze out the first-time buyer.

With fewer buyers in the market, hard-pressed developers were being forced to offer heavy discounts while adding full turnkey packages, paying stamp duty and legal costs, or subsidising mortgage payments for up to three years.

Some first-time buyers were being offered the chance to pay for 75 per cent now and the rest in several years’ time.

The volume of house sales has also plummeted. According to the latest University of Ulster quarterly house price index, produced in partnership with Bank of Ireland, just 896 transactions from almost 120 estate agents were registered between January and March, compared with 2,120 in the same period a year ago.

This was the lowest number of quarterly house sales recorded since the survey started in 1984.

‘‘The low level of housing transactions has seen mortgages fall in the first quarter of 2008 to their lowest level since the late 1970s,” said Ramsey.

‘‘Clearly, the ongoing credit crunch is making life more difficult for borrowers and lenders alike, and the trend in falling average house prices is expected to continue in 2008.”

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Irish Property Bubble - Ireland's Boom To Bust - Just Clowen' Around...

Came across a great article by Shaun Connolly, Political Correspondent, on the Irish Examiner Newspaper:

"Clowning around in the doleful economic circus...

ROLL up! Roll up! Marvel at the economic circus act of the Two Brians — Mr Boom and Mr Bust! Thrill as Brian Cowen — Mr Boom — hurtles through the air powered only by the overheating property explosion!

Scream as Brian Lenihan — Mr Bust — plunges back down to earth as the housing bubble bursts violently in his face!

Quiver as the Two Brians tremble on the high wire together, desperately trying to keep their fiscal balance with no safety net blow them.

The recession started precisely four minutes late as the Taoiseach and Finance Minister delayed their entry to what, by the look on their glum little faces, could well have passed for their political funerals.

With the stock market collapsing at an even faster rate than the unemployment lines were growing, it was hardly any wonder both men looked sullen as they unveiled their mystery action plan to tackle the €3.5 billion black hole that has been blown in government revenues by deteriorating tax returns and a surge in welfare payments.

The Two Brians told us everything was going to be all right, they just did not really tell us how.

Mr Boom said we were now experiencing a “different model of growth” and who could disagree with him? In a few sharp months we have gone from Europe’s role model to Europe’s dole model. Mr Bust assured us that the country’s economic gains had “not been reversed overnight” — quite so, it had taken more than a year to get us into this particular hole.

Government payrolls were to be slashed by 3%, but neither man knew how many jobs this would entail or what the consequences for services would be. The decentralisation disaster was being put on ice, but was also not being abandoned — a neat conjuring trick in itself.

And that massive ministerial pay hike was being dumped, well until about 2010 anyway. The message was clear: we feel your pain, but only until we can get back on the gravy train.

However, amid the economic debris there was still time to settle some old scores. “We are very concerned about the ongoing costs of the tribunals,” Mr Bust announced. Of course he is, they have already cost Fianna Fáil one taoiseach, who knows what other damage they could do?

Following the depressed press conference the Two Brians shuffled into the Dáil chamber almost hand in hand, it was if the dour double act now only feels safe if it travels as one.

As they grappled their way to their seats they looked like two weary elephants linking trunk and tail as they entered the circus ring.

Luckily for them, Fine Gael’s Enda Kenny is no ring master and though he tried to lash his whip in their direction it did not leave many marks.

In an illusionist’s trick, Mr Boom again announced he would make 3% of the public service payroll disappear.

However, Mary Harney and Batt O’Keeffe were to be given the roles of knife throwers’ assistants as they dodged the blades being thrown all around the Government wage bill after being told they would escape the cuts.

As Mr Boom tried to explain away the vagaries of what he was imposing on the country, crying could be heard in the chamber — surprisingly it was not the sobbing of FF backbenchers dismayed that his Lisbon-lite leadership was again on show, but a baby being carried out of the public gallery.

Mr Boom tried to calm everybody down: “This is just a phase,” he assured us. Yes that’s right, mass unemployment, it’s just a phase, like boy bands and mopeds.

The “phase” will see Government spending cut by €440m this year and €1bn next year. As we have to make up a €3.5bn shortfall in budgets for 2008 alone, that points to an awful lot of extra borrowing, or even tax increases in the December budget.

The Finance Minister, who has the air of a man who should be sipping a stiff sherry in the law library at the Four Courts, rather than getting his hands dirty with spending cuts, looked uncomfortable in his role.

Mr Bust — Brian Scissorhands — did not seem to be looking forward to the budget as he slumped back in his chair while next to him Mr Boom appeared weighed down by the sheer scale of the collapse in economic confidence engulfing his administration.

The 19,055 people who joined the dole queues last month alone might not see the funny side of the circus as they lament: send in the clowns. Don’t bother, they’re already here."

...Well put Shaun!

Sunday, 6 July 2008 Price Reduction...Because Of "Recession" In Ireland...

A New Marketing concept in Ireland called "Recession"...

An ad on

..."This is a private sale, so the saving to the Vendor on auctioneers fees is reflected in the price which was orignally offers in excess of 400k prior to the recession!!!"


"Summerhill, Carrowmore Lacken, Ballina,Co. Mayo
Detached House
Excess €370,000

...dormer home was completed in June 2004 to a very high standard in an area of outstanding natural beauty where planning simply isnt being granted anymore. It has truely wow views out of every window and is within walking distance of pub and beach.

The elevated property overlooks the Ross Estuary, Rathfran Abbey, Bartra Island and Killala Bay. Sligo, Enniscrone and the Donegal mountains, together with Nephin Mountain are also to be seen.

The rural location is ideal for a large family home or holiday house away from hussle and bussle and yet is less than an hour from Knock Airport.

This is a private sale, so the saving to the Vendor on auctioneers fees is reflected in the price which was orignally offers in excess of 400k prior to the recession!!!"

...You gotta love it! 30k price drop because of the "recession"...And only an hour from Knock Airport! What more could you ask for???

Daft Irish Property Scene...More House Price Drops For Summer 2008...

Time for the Summer SALES!...

The Sunday Buisness Post's, Michelle Devane, "looks at what’s on offer for buyers ahead of the summer season...

Eirene, Marino Avenue East, Killiney, Co Dublin
Savills HOK Was: €6 million Now: €4.15 million Built in 1884, this spacious detached period residence was designed by the renowned Victorian architect Thomas Deane and is full of original period features. Eirene has been on the market for almost four months and its asking price has been reduced by 30 per cent to €4.15 million. With five-bedrooms and 325 square metres of living space, which is in need of modernisation, it is set on two acres of private mature grounds with views across Killiney Bay. The Dart station, Killiney beach and the Holy Child convent are within a couple of minutes walk...

49 Clarinda Park East, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin
Savills HOK Was: €2.55 million Now: €2.15 million Beautifully restored and refurbished, 49 Clarinda Park East is a two-storey over garden level property dating back to 1855 which has been on the market since February. The agent has cut the asking price to €2.15 million, a 15 per cent reduction. The mid-terrace home offers 250 square metres of accommodation in mint condition. It is located in an attractive square of Victorian terraces, a short walk from Dun Laoghaire and its numerous local amenities. Contact 01-2054996.

Ballycarbery, St George’s Avenue, Killiney Hill Road
Savills HOK Was: €4.5 million Now: €3.5 million. A Georgian-style property sitting on just under an acre of beautiful gardens in Killiney, Ballycarbery measures 185 square metres and has views of Killiney Bay. The property was built by the legendary manager of Dublin’s Gresham Hotel, Toddy O’Sullivan, in 1960 on lands that used to belong to the Grove Nursing Home. To make the most of the views, the three-bedrooms are located on the ground floor and the living accommodation is upstairs. Savills HOK has reduced the asking price by 22 per cent to €3.5 million. ...

Sydney Lodge, Sydney Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin
Sherry FitzGerald Was: €3.9 million Now: €3.7 million Sydney Lodge is an impressive double fronted Regency villa with an adjoining apartment set well back from Sydney Avenue in Blackrock, south Dublin. Its price tag has been reduced by €200,000 and Sherry FitzGerald is now quoting €3.7 million. A protected structure, the main house has 272 square metres of living space with period features throughout. Rooms include a reception hall, two reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room, four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a utility. The two-storey apartment has a living room, kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms...

22 Sandymount Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin 4
Bennetts Auctioneers Was: €2.5 million Now: €2.2 million A late Victorian residence occupying a corner site on Sandymount Avenue, number 22 was withdrawn when it went under the hammer in March 2007 through Sherry FitzGerald. It had anAMVof €2.5million at the time. It is now for sale through Bennetts and the agent is quoting €2.2 million, which represents a 12 per cent price cut.The 172 square metre property, which was built in 1903, has five bedrooms and retains many of its attractive period features. The living area spans three floors and hasbeen remodelled from three flats by the current owners...

209 Mount Prospect Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin 3
Sherry FitzGerald Was: €3.25 million Now: €2.55 million When Auburn, a detached dormer bungalow on a third of an acre of landscaped grounds, first went on the market in September 2007, it had an asking price of €3.25 million through Douglas Newman Good. This 318 square metre family home is now for sale through Sherry FitzGerald with a reduced asking price of €2.55million - a 22 per cent price drop. Features include six bedrooms and a south-facing garden...

68 St Lawrence Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3
Sherry FitzGerald Was: €1.98 million Now: €1.8 millionA redbrick property, 68 St Lawrence Road is a four-bedroom bay-windowed home where the living space has been extended to measure 275 square metres. In excellent condition, it has a range of restored period features including decorative ceiling coving, centre pieces and high ceilings. It is within a short distance of Clontarf Dart station...

45 Howth Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3
Sherry FitzGerald Was: €2.2 million Now: €1.8 millionA two-storey over garden level family home, this eight-bedroom property has been reduced by €400,000 (or 18 per cent) to sell. The owners have managed to retain many of the original features, while modernising it throughout its 243 square metres of living space. The redbrick house also features a 220 foot long rear garden. Local amenities, including the Dart at Clontarf, are close by...

Lois Bridges, Greenfield Road, Sutton, Dublin 13
Douglas Newman Good Was: €2.8 million Now: €1.65 million The price tag of Lois Bridges has dropped by a staggering 41 per cent. It was originally put on the market at €2.8million and can now be bought for €1.65 million through Douglas Newman Good. The four-bedroom house has been extended and completely refurbished. It has open plan living accommodation including a kitchen, dining and living area, and there is also a separate living room, study and guest room...

109 Moyne Road, Ranelagh, Dublin 6
Gunne Residential Was: €1.75 millionNow: €1.55 million 109, Moyne Road is a Victorian residence set in two self-contained units totalling 185 square metres with a 90 foot long rear garden. The Dublin 6 home is ideal for reconversion to a family home as the accommodation spans three levels. The agent has reduced the property’s asking price by €200,000 to €1.55 million, an 11 per cent price cut...

39 The Palms, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14
Gunne Residential Was: €1.1 million Now: €875,000 A bay-fronted four-bedroom detached house, 39 The Palms is located in a cul-de-sac off Roebuck Road. Built about 20 years ago, it measures 134 square metres and has two reception rooms, a kitchen/ breakfast room, four bedrooms and a south-facing rear garden. Its asking price has been reduced to €875,000 from €1.1million, a 20 per cent price drop...

35 Nutgrove Park, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14
Gunne Residential Was: €1.25 million Now: €1.15 millionGunne Residential has reduced the price of this family home to €1.15 million. The well presented accommodation has two reception rooms, a kitchen/ breakfast room and four bedrooms. Outside, there is access to a integral garage and a 65 foot long rear garden, with offers plenty of opportunity to extend subject to planning permission...

1A Longwood Avenue, Portobello, Dublin 8
Gunne Residential Was: €850,000Now: €690,000 A semi-detached period residence with an abundance of original detailing, this Portobello home has 95 square metres of living space and a south-facing town garden. This three-bedroom house is within walking distance of St Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street. Rooms include a living room, kitchen/breakfast room, utility area, three bedrooms, master en suite, and bathroom.There is also an attic room...

51 Nutley Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
Savills HOK Was: €3.5 million Now: €2.6 million Savills HOK first launched 51 Nutley Road onto the market last September with an asking price of €3.5 million. Today, the four-bedroom detached property has fallen in price to €2.6 million, a 25 per cent drop. Number 51 has extended accommodation measuring a total of 210 square metres. It has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large reception hall, three reception rooms, a kitchen and garage. The house is set on mature gardens and is within walking distance of St Vincent’s Hospital, Merrion Shopping Centre and UCD...

20 Burlington Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Savills HOK Was: €7.5 million Now: €4.75 million. Priced at €7.5 million when it came onto the market this time last year, 20 Burlington Road, a five-bedroom two-storey over garden level period house in Ballsbridge, is now on the market at €4.75 million, representing a 36 per cent price cut. At 350 square metres, the property has a host of Victorian features. Accommodation includes a large reception hall, two reception rooms, kitchen/ breakfast room, family room, study, utility room, five/six bedrooms and two bathrooms. There is also a large landscaped south-facing back garden with potential for two mews houses, subject to planning permission...

7 Pleasants Street, Dublin 8
Sherry FitzGerald Was: €1.85 million Now: €1.25 million Sherry FitzGerald is now asking €1.25million for 7 Peasants Street in Dublin 8 - 32 per cent below the original asking price of €1.85million.The 176 square metre terraced property is beautifully finished and is situated between Camden Street and Heytesbury Street. It has original features throughout including wood flooring, high ceilings, ornate ceiling coving, centre roses and window shutters....

Wyander, 51 Hainault Road, Foxrock, Dublin 18
Sherry FitzGerald Was: €2.3 million Now: €1.95 million. Wyander is a five-bedroom detached dormer bungalow on Hainault Road in Foxrock. When it first went on the market the 207 square metre home had an asking price of €2.3million but it is now being quoted at €1.95 million, a 15 drop in price. The well-proportioned living area comprises an entrance hall, kitchen/breakfast room, lounge, dining room and five bedrooms, with master en suite....

Lisadell House, 11 Tivoli Terrace South, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin
Sherry FitzGerald Was: €1.9 million Now: €1.595 million Originally on the market at €1.9 million, Lisadell House has been reduced in price by 16 per cent and is now quoting €1.595 million. Built in 1860, the double fronted two-storey over garden level house in Dun Laoghaire has 268 square metres of well presented interiors including a hall, two reception rooms, kitchen, utility room and six bedrooms. The garden level accommodation is self-contained with a living room, kitchen and two bedrooms. ..

71 Brighton Road, Rathgar, Dublin 6
Colliers Jackson-StopsWas: €2.75 million Now: €2.475 million Number 71 is one of only two detached properties on Brighton Road. The redbrick residence was the original Manse house of Brighton Road Methodist church and first came onto the market with an asking price of €2.75 million, but this has dropped by 10 per cent. The four-bedroom home was built in the mid 1800s and has been refurbished and updated to offer 24 4square metres of living space...

San Antonio, 73 Dalkey Avenue, Dalkey, Co Dublin
Colliers Jackson Stops Was: €1.4 million Now: €1.25 million Situated at the village end of Dalkey Avenue, San Antonio is a four-bedroom family residence of 134 square metres, which has been well maintained and upgraded by the current owners. The living space includes hall, reception room, kitchen/breakfast room, family room and four bedrooms, and the house is set on large grounds. There is an extensive rear yard and work shop area and there is great potential to develop the site, or extend, subject to planning permission. The property is now for sale priced at €1.25million,10 per cent less than its original asking price...

3 Pearse Square, Dublin 2
Colliers Jackson StopsWas: €1.4 million Now: €1.25 million Located in a Victorian square in Dublin city centre, number 3 Pearse Square is a conveniently located three-bedroom property which is on the market in walk-in condition. An elegant two storey over basement terraced house with a recently landscaped 60 foot garden that provides rear access, this house has a reduced asking price of €1.25 million, representing a 10 per cent price cut. Measuring 167 square metres, the house still retains many of its original features such as fireplaces, wooden flooring and cornicing....

Abbey Court, Loreto Terrace, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14
Douglas Newman Good Was: €1.25 million Now: from €985,000 Abbey Court is a newly developed enclave of four houses located to the rear of Loreto Terrace, adjacent to Grange Road and its intersection with Nutgrove Avenue. The scheme is within easy walking distance of Rathfarnham village and the price of the three remaining properties for sale have been reduced from original starting prices of €1.25 million to revised starting prices of €985,000. All rooms, including the converted attic, are wired for plasma or LCD televisions while the kitchen and family room, living room, master bedroom and second bedroom are fitted with a home entertainment system. Nutgrove shopping centre and Dundrum Town Centre are close by, as are numerous other local amenities...

Hollon House, Castlewarden, Straffan, Co Kildare
Knight Frank Was: €3.45 million Now: €2.75 million Hollon House was originally put on the market last April with an asking price of €3.45 million. The five bedroom country house in Castlewarden had 25 per cent knocked off its asking price and it is now on the market for €2.75 million. This Georgian style detached house was built in 1996 and has an impressive 680 square metres of living space. It has been extended and completely refurbished to a high standard in the last two years with the assistance of an interior designer. The house is spread over three levels to include the attic rooms. All five bedrooms are good-sized doubles and all are en suite...

Kilmurray House, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny
Knight Frank Was: €4 million Now: €3.5 million Reduced by €500,000,Kilmurray House is now for sale for €3.5 million through Knight Frank. A listed country house set on 20 acres in a part of rural Kilkenny, this property measures 1,300 square metres. The Grade 1-listedGeorgian house in the Palladian style has been extensively refurbished and offers absolute privacy, grand living and immense charm. There is ample space for staff quarters in the bachelor’s wing. Outside, a magnificent organic walled garden needs renovation to restore its original Victorian splendour, and there is also plenty of space for a helipad, some mature woodland, a small lake and paddocks. "

Irish Property Buyer Magazine...Irish Not Buying...

Sunday Tribune's Ken Griffin reports today that...

ONE OF the country's leading property magazines has become the latest victim of the construction slowdown, having ceased trading due to deteriorating advertising revenues.

Publication of 'Irish Property Buyer' was suspended on Wednesday after a last-ditch attempt to save the magazine collapsed.

The title was established four years ago by publisher Joan Fitzpatrick and a former senior editor with the 'Irish Times', Don Buckley, at the height of the property boom. At one stage, the monthly title sold over 7,500 copies per issue but this had fallen to nearer 6,000 in recent times.

Buckley told the Sunday Tribune the title had been running at a loss since the end of 2007.

"The slide began towards the end of 2006. Last year, we pumped our reserves from previous years into the title to maintain its position but things continued tailing off," he said. He said even advertising for over­seas properties, which had held up well, had recently started to decline.

Buckley said the magazine's backers had offered the title to other prominent Irish magazine publishers but they were "running away from anything with 'property' in the title". He added that they had decided to close the magazine after a final rescue attempt failed last week.

He said the magazine's directors would now reach agreements with its creditors using their own financial resources.

"We haven't ruled out reactivating the title at a later date," explained Buckley. "To be honest, though, I can't see any upturn in the property market for a number of years."

Thursday, 3 July 2008

The Black Hole Of Ireland...Irish Economy...Recession Looms...

The Irish Examiner mentions in a report today:

SURGING unemployment and sliding tax returns helped blow a €5.6bn black hole in Government finances last night...

The opposition’s ire focused on Mr Cowen, who had been Finance Minister up to May, rather than Mr Lenihan.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore accused Mr Cowen of “walking the country into the red”.

Fine Gael finance spokesman Richard Bruton said Mr Cowen had to take personal responsibility for the scale of downturn as he had introduced four inflationary budgets designed to meet the needs of the “electoral cycle, not the economic cycle”.

These budgets had used the unsustainable revenues from the property boom to “ramp up spending increases” at twice the rate of growth of the economy, Mr Bruton said.

The Irish Independent paints a similar gloomy black hole picture...

MINISTERS will have to cut €500m from their spending plans to pay for increased dole payments, as the property slump blows a €3bn black hole in their tax take.

Department of Finance officials now expect the jobless queues to lengthen by an average of 5,000 a month for the rest of the year, bringing the average number on the Live Register to 210,000...

...But that depends on the rest of the economy -- outside of building and property -- holding firm. A string of other bad news yesterday suggested it may not: Stock markets slumped again, with the Dublin market falling to its lowest level in five years.

The falls were led by building companies, as the outlook for property markets worsened in Ireland and Britain.

...With interest rates set to rise today, European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet seemed to warn that more may follow, saying inflation could "explode" without decisive action by central banks...

...The Exchequer returns show tax revenues were €1.45bn short of expectations in the first six months of the year. Taxes from property and construction were almost entirely to blame...

...Fine Gael said the mid-term Exchequer figures "show conclusively" that the Taoiseach had blown the boom and brought about "the worst deterioration in our public finances in the history of the State". Labour said the figures "paint a sorry picture of Brian Cowen's stewardship of the economy."

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Just Clowen' Around...Shortfall Of Over €1.5bn For Ireland's Tax Returns

The Irish Times has a report from Stephen Collins, (Political Editor,)on the deteriorating state of Ireland's finances...

"Tax Returns expected to show tax shortfall of at least €1.5bn...

THE SCALE of the financial crisis facing the country will become clear today with the publication of the exchequer returns, which are expected to show a dramatic shortfall of at least €1.5 billion in tax revenues for the first half of the year.

The Cabinet discussed the rapidly deteriorating financial situation yesterday, but final decisions on the strategy to deal with the issue will not be taken until next week's Cabinet meeting after Ministers have considered the official figures. The Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, confirmed in the Dáil yesterday that tax revenues for the first six months were down but he said exact figures would not be available until today. He added that the Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan had briefed the Government in general terms about the figures and would be issuing a statement after their publication...

...He said there was a challenging time ahead for the remainder of this year and decisions would have to be taken in the context of the estimates for next year's expenditure targets.

"The Government is au fait with the general position and the Minister and his colleagues will determine the broad strategy to be adopted. The Government will make decisions promptly and appropriately and we will discuss them in the House," said Mr Cowen.

The Taoiseach was replying to the Labour Party leader, Eamon Gilmore, who insisted that tax revenues were down because of the Government's economic policies rather than the international financial situation.

Fine Gael deputy leader and finance spokesman Richard Bruton forecast last night that the mid-term exchequer figures were likely to be some of grimmest ever seen and he called on the Taoiseach and Minister for Finance to stop washing their hands and take concrete action.

"Brian Cowen sleepwalked the economy into recession. He ignored repeated warnings about over-dependency on the property boom, and failed to notice the steady deterioration in export performance. As minister for finance, Brian Cowen presided over the worst deterioration in the public finances in the history of the State," said Mr Bruton.

He called on the Taoiseach to set an example by immediately cancelling the Government's profligate pay rise, ending waste in the public sector and scrapping a number of unnecessary junior ministers.

Labour finance spokeswoman Joan Burton said that the Government had still not offered anything like a comprehensive analysis of the deteriorating economic situation.

"Instead, we get a slow drip-feed of information as if the Government hopes the people won't notice the recession creeping up on them. Introducing cutbacks by stealth is no way to conduct Government business."

Ms Burton added that without accurate information, it was difficult to plot a course back towards economic sustainability. She added that serious questions had to be asked about the ability of the Government to make accurate economic forecasts at all.

"In December 2006, Brian Cowen forecast growth for 2008 of 4.8 per cent. In December 2007, he revised it down to 2.8 per cent. Now the ESRI forecast that it will be minus 0.4 per cent. These erroneous forecasts have triggered a fiscal crisis in which it seems the poor, the sick and the handicapped will be made to suffer for the Government's mistakes," she said."

The article also quotes Taoiseach as saying...

"We will have a debate next week on the NDP [National Development Plan] and the economy, which will present a good opportunity for the Government to outline the general position. Given that tax revenues will be back from where we expected them to be because of the international financial situation, it will be necessary for us to work to our expenditure targets within the budgetary parameters we have set ourselves"

...Political speak for "Oh SH*T!!!"

...Don't forget to tune in, with Taoiseach Mr Clowen', and watch all the fun, " Just Clowen' Around", live on Dail TV!!! (