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Expectations need to be managed




By Michael O’Connor

Three weeks of negative market numbers have ensured the positive rally we experienced to mid-August is now but a distant memory.

The assumption that the improving inflation figures we saw in early August would allow the Fed to take their foot off the gas pushed markets higher, but these notions were swiftly put to bed by the Fed, killing the market momentum in the process.

Instead, investors are now gripped by fears of the aggressive policy tightening to come.

So, where does that leave us?

In short, it leaves us in the most prolonged bear market since the Great Financial Crisis.

I have spoken about this before, but it bears repeating. The unbridled support that fuelled previous recoveries is no more. The rescue team that saved us from the burning building in recent years has now turned against us.

Like some sort of arson-obsessed firefighter, the Fed has turned to the dark side, seeking lower prices, lower valuations and more subdued economic activity in an effort to tame inflation.

As such, the probability of a fast recovery fades dramatically.

Investors got used to spending a lot of time near all-time highs over the last decade, but the landscape is changing.

The S&P 500 has not been within 5% of its all-time high for the past 95 days, the longest period since 2013.

The Nasdaq 100 has now spent 33 weeks below its 40-week moving average, the longest period on record.

There is no denying the downtrend we are in and waiting around for the cavalry to arrive is no longer a justifiable investment plan.

Slower growth is still growth, but expectations need to be managed.

Just as painful

Markets are never defined as good or bad - they are judged merely as better or worse.

What has already happened holds far less weight than what’s about to happen.

With market conditions worsening, the fact that they are retreating from an unsustainable level of success bears little significance for investors suffering through the pain in real-time.

For example, a 7% drop in property prices would undoubtedly be met with resounding disdain from property owners despite house prices jumping 40% in the past 18 months.

Before the most recent real estate rally, investors would have bitten your hand off for a 30% increase in their property value in under two years, but you can never view the two in isolation.

Psychologically, the previous unrealised gains have already been locked in. Who wants 30% when 40% was just on the table? The pain of loss has now been anchored to the new highs.

Nothing else will do

More importantly, it’s never how far something has fallen but the uncertainty around how further it could fall that gnaws at the mind of investors.

So, while a reprieve from some of the most supportive market conditions in history may seem reasonable, investors will undoubtedly feel every bit of the pain along the way, regardless of the good times they experience to get here.

The short-term adjustments are never easy, but the long-term trend rewards those willing to take the pain.

Market outlook

For now, I expect markets to continue to move sideways in the absence of a significant catalyst. A return to a sustainable bull market is unlikely until we see a stabilisation in interest rates.

Inflation and labour market figures continue to be the ones to watch.

For free weekly stock tips and direct access to my personal investment portfolio, go to

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Is it a good time to sell your property?

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year. The quarterly report found the market had held up […]




By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year.

The quarterly report found the market had held up better than evidence had suggested in 2022. The number of vendors cutting asking prices remained at low levels, while many house prices were being settled above asking prices.

However, the report warned that the resilience of the housing marking is set to be tested this year. It found annual asking price inflation slowed to six percent nationwide, meaning the asking price for the average home in Ireland is now €330,000.

There were 15,000 available properties for sale on in the fourth quarter of the year – an improvement on the same time last year but still below pre-pandemic levels.

Average time to sale agreed was 2.7 months nationwide which the report said is indicative of a very tight housing market.

The report said it expects to see 28,400 house completions in 2022, exceeding its previous forecast of 26,500 finished units.

The author of the report, Conall MacCoille, Chief Economist at stockbrokers Davy, said it appeared the market had held up better than evidence had suggested.

“The number of vendors cutting their asking prices is still at low levels. Also, transactions in Q4 were still being settled above asking prices, indicative of a tight market,” he said.

Recent months had seen worrying trends in the homebuilding sector, with housing starts slowing, and the construction PMI survey pointing to the flow of new development drying up.

“We still expect housing completions will pick up to 28,400 in 2022 and 27,000 in 2023. However, the outlook for 2024 is far more uncertain. The Government’s ambitious plans to expedite planning processes are welcome although, as ever, the proof will be in the pudding,” he added.

Locally, and unsurprisingly, the lack of supply of new and second-hand properties remains the dominant issue. There has been very little new construction due largely to the rising cost of construction, labour, materials and utilities which in turn is putting pressure on the second hand market.

This market proved particularly strong in 2022 with active bidding experienced on the majority of house sales and a large proportion of guide prices being generally exceeded.

The detached family home end of the market is particularly strong with increased competition for a limited number of available well located family homes.

So, what lies ahead and is it a good time to sell your property?

The answer is a tight market with scarcity of supply being a factor. If selling now you will benefit greatly from a lack of supply of available homes (therefore less competition) provided your property is marketed correctly of course!

For anyone considering placing their property on the market, contact DNG Ted Healy 064 6639000 for genuine honest advice on how to achieve the best possible price for your home.

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Tourism VAT rate should be “continued indefinitely”

A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its […]




A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its customers”.

The reduced VAT rate of 9% was introduced by the Government in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the hospitality sector.

“I believe a return to a 13.5% Tourism VAT rate would be counterproductive at this stage, to small and medium businesses that welcome visitors to our country and our county,” Councillor Michael Cahill said.

“Catered food is already charged at 13.5%, alcohol at 23% and accommodation presently at 9%. This sector is providing pretty decent returns to the Exchequer and should be supported. All parties in this debate, including the Government and accommodation providers, should review their position and ensure their actions do not contribute to ‘killing the Goose that laid the Golden Egg’.”

He explained that the tourism industry is “in a very volatile market”, as can be seen by the enormous challenges “posed by COVID-19 in recent years”.

“A grain of rice could tip the balance either way and great care must be taken not to damage it irreparably. We are all aware that the next six to 12 months will be extremely difficult for many businesses with the increase in the cost of oil and gas, etc,, and a return to the 13.5% VAT rate will, in my opinion, close many doors. If a minority are ‘price gouging’, then it should be possible to penalise them and continue to support the majority who offer value for money to our visitors.”

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