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Property prices – who’s to blame?

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By Michael O’Connor

There are multiple theories as to why house prices continue to reach unfathomable heights.

One that gets a lot of airtime is the role of private equity firms in the market. The generally accepted narrative is that these funds come in, buy up all the available property supply and leave nothing for the rest of us. In reality, this effect is somewhat exaggerated.

It's always a crowd-pleaser when you blame surging housing prices on the big bad investment banks. After all, who doesn’t love to rally behind a ‘Vultures Out’ campaign. As much as I would love to burden them with most of the blame, the stats simply don’t back it up.

The share of total home sales that come from investor purchases has actually been in decline. In 2020, estimates showed that investors make up about 20 percent of housing sales.

Bear in mind that number is not just the share of institutional investors but anyone who isn’t just buying a house as their primary residence.

This 20% includes people purchasing second homes, vacation rentals, individual investment properties, and small investors flipping homes for profit.

In the US since 2011, the cumulative acquisitions from institutional investors has approached 400,000 single-family homes. This may seem like a lot, but with 83 million homes in the US, this represents less than half a percent of the market.

If we narrow our focus solely to the 16 million homes on the rental market, institutionally backed firms only own 2.5% of the market.

In reality, large investors make up just one to two percent of all single-family purchases, while other investors make up 18 to 19 percent.

The numbers show that most rentals are owned by small investors; your neighbours and friends.

To be clear, I agree that levies should be in place to prohibit bulk buying of properties, but simply using private equity firms as the scapegoat ignores the crux of the problem.

As masters of the dark arts of deflection, politicians are quick to point the finger. In reality, money supply, over-regulation, a distinct lack of planning, inadequate funding, and extended periods of undersupply post the Global Financial Crisis are the driving forces behind the current housing crisis but I guess it’s easier to fix the blame than fix the problem.

Where do prices go from here?

I expect home prices to grow more moderately in the coming years as more supply reaches the market, but this will take time. Those waiting for a considerable pullback could be left wanting.

Don’t expect housing to become affordable any time soon.

"If I had to guess, it’s going to be years until we see anything approaching a “normal” housing market. We simply didn’t build enough homes following the last housing crash to meet the demand coming from millennials reaching their household formation years" - Ben Carlson 'A Wealth of Common Sense'

Looking ahead, rising rates could slow things a bit if mortgage rates get high enough. With that said, the central banks are relatively boxed in. Interest rates are unlikely to skyrocket given the effect this would have on the service level of Government debt, but that’s for another day.

Remember, just because you think house prices should fall, doesn’t mean they will. The distinction is vital.

The waiting game hasn’t always paid off.

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Ghost hunter’s video goes viral

By Michelle Crean They have a love of things that go bump in the night – and it seems the public do too – as a Killarney man’s ghost hunting […]

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By Michelle Crean

They have a love of things that go bump in the night – and it seems the public do too – as a Killarney man’s ghost hunting video has gone viral.

PJ O’Sullivan from Púca Vogue Paranormal Ireland and his ghost busting team posted a video online around Christmas time, but it was only over the last two weeks that it went viral – clocking up 1.9 million views and over 2k likes on Facebook.

“We were naturally shocked ourselves at this,” PJ, who is originally from Gneeveguilla but lives in St Mary’s Terrace in town, told the Killarney Advertiser.

The video was taken in Redwood Castle in, Lorrha, Co Tipperary in October when the Irish paranormal investigator invited like-minded people to the location for Hallowe’en.

PJ, who has been a paranormal investigator for over 15 years, set up Púca Vogue Paranormal Ireland three years ago and works alongside his son Leo and his partner Eva Walsh.

In the clip, Eva and Liz Kelleher are in the background with singer/songwriter Rebecca McRedmond front and centre.

“On the night we had a total of 10 people in the castle for the lockdown investigation including our own Rory Murphy and Veronika Slomiany,” he said.

“It was filmed on the ground floor inside the main entrance area. It was a Hallowe’en paranormal investigation where we had guests including Damien O’Rourke from Cuppa Tea TV.

“We were investigating the ground floor. It was filmed in total darkness and Rebecca had felt a touch as we started and shortly in this clip she felt another touch at her leg. Eva had also commented the room had now felt tense, so on review of the footage we can see what we believe is her dress floating outward, and on inspection both her ankles show her feet were on the ground; there was no drafts, and it tied in with the experience so we shared that clip.”

He added that they share clips from investigations but let people decide for themselves what it is that they see.

“We share what we believe we capture and this is just a few minutes as a part of the whole night as we investigate the castle over all floors usually from around 9.30pm to 4am with breaks and we have up to five cameras recording in 50 minute segments continuously which we download after for review. But as you can imagine with full-time jobs and life it takes time to review all the footage so we mix what we do with pictures and sites of interest. We are non-profit on all events. We had done Leap Castle the previous night, this is claimed as Ireland’s most haunted castle and again shared the experience, but this is the reel that just took off on Facebook which has us surprised, but we are all very proud of Púca Vogue Paranormal.

“This is not our first capture from this castle as we have previously shared on their social media, we experienced more on the night which we will share at future dates.”

To see the video go to our Facebook page: Púca Vogue Paranormal Investigations.

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Bean in Killarney to cease trading due to rising costs

By Sean Moriarty A Plunkett St coffee shop has been forced to shut its doors due to the soaring costs of doing business. Bean in Killarney opened in late January […]

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By Sean Moriarty

A Plunkett St coffee shop has been forced to shut its doors due to the soaring costs of doing business.

Bean in Killarney opened in late January 2021.

Last March it was named as one of the ‘Financial Times’ list of ‘Best Independent Coffee Shops in the World’.

It was just one of 30 coffee shops worldwide – and one of only two in Ireland – to make the list, which includes entries from world cities like Paris, London and Sydney.

Bean in Killarney is a sister café to Bean in Dingle which was set up by brothers Justin and Luke Burgess.

The local branch was managed by brothers Joey and Euan Boland, who are also from Dingle.

It was a popular coffee stop for locals and visitors alike but despite its popularity and accolades, the business could not survive the current economic climate.

“After two great years we have made the really tough decision to close Bean in Killarney,” said a company statement.

“We opened during the height of the lockdown with the hope that when all restrictions came to an end, the shop would kick off like the Dingle one did.

“However, 2022 brought about new challenges and unfortunately ended up being harder rather than easier. We are a family-run business and rapidly rising costs meant we traded less than we did during 2021’s numerous restrictions. We had hoped to ride out the storm, but it’s not possible to continue operating at a loss.”

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